Popular fruit market in Port Harcourt gutted by fire

Popular fruit market in Port Harcourt gutted by fire

Friday, September 28, 2018 12:07 pm

Governor Wike (in white) during his visit to the market

Members fire service refuse to respond insisting they were on strike 
Governor Wike expresses sadness over inferno at Fruit and Vegetable Market, Port Harcourt  
▪pledges to rebuild the market and assist affected traders
Okafor Ofiebor /Port Harcourt
One of  major casualties of the nationwide strike seemed to be the fruit market in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State Capital which was gutted by fire while officers of the State Fire Service refused to respond to distress calls from traders in the market.
Eyewitnesses told our correspondent  in Port Harcourt  that mmediately the fire started at about 7.30 pm traders and property owners put calls across the to the fire service office, they were told bluntly by the fire service officials  that they were observing the nationwide strike.
“This is wicked, all the calls we made to fire service was not responded to. Some people even drove to their office at their Aba road office yet they refused to come. They later arrived when every of our goods and properties were burnt. Is this fair. Volunteers got tired as they could not put out the fire “
However, the Director of Rivers State fire service, John Chuckwumati claimed they responded immediately they received the distress calls, but on arrival at the scene angry traders and mobs who felt that they came when the entire market was already burnt down. 
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike who paid a visit to the burnt market expressed sadness over the inferno at the Fruit and Vegetable Market, Port Harcourt, declaring that the State Government will come to the aid of the affected traders.
He met angry traders who lamented the loss of their hard earned investments on  their perished  goods pleaded with the Governor to come to their aid.  They complained that the fire service refused to respond to their distress.
Governor Wike who described the inferno as a great loss to the state, said that  the  State Government will rebuild the market in no distant time.
“Government will do what  it is supposed to do to ensure that the traders continued  to earn a living. It is unfortunate that this has happened.
“We will look at the immediate and remote causes and we shall also come to the aid of those who are affected by the inferno. Let me assure you that we will  do what we can to resolve it”, he said.
The governor called  for the cooperation of everyone  in the market, saying that anger on the part of the traders will not solve the problem.
He pleaded with them to remain calm, saying though  the Fire Service responded late, they ought to have allowed them salvage what they could.
A man who identified himself as the Market Leader said the fire started at about 7pm.  He said it was impossible to control the youths that stopped the Fire Service from carrying  out their responsibility.

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