By Nwanosike Onu, Awka
The old motor parts inferno at Obosi, Idemili North local government area of Anambra State broke out like a puzzle on the night of January 11, burning over 100 shops and killing Godwin Edozieuno, 44.
Edozieuno, who hailed from Enugu-Otu, in Ayamelum local government area of the state, was until his death, one of the line chairmen in the market.
The fire destroyed shops and goods worth over N2 billion, according to the leader of the market, Samuel Ezeobodo.
Since the incident, traders in the market have been lamenting their losses; some of the victims who spoke to The Nation, said it has not been easy for them, adding that some of them just returned from their trips and off loaded their goods
Charles O. Charles, a native of Ntigha, Isiala Ngwa North local government area of Abia State, said he lost over N2 million worth of goods.
Charles, who is the Secretary of one of the lines, where late Edozieuno served as chairman, was in tears when he was narrating his ordeal. He lamented that all his spare parts, which he had acquired over the years, were destroyed by the flames.
Likewise, Ifeanyi Uzor from Ideato in Imo state, disclosed that he lost goods worth over N6 million in the fire. Uzor said he returned from Dubai with the goods on the day of the disaster. He said he was in pains because all his efforts as a young man have amounted to a waste.
He said, “Since this unfortunate incident, I’ve not been sleeping because all I see in my dreams is that fire that destroyed my shop and goods.”
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Paul Egwuatu from Anam, Anambra East local government area, lost over N3 million worth of goods in the inferno. He said, “God said we should give glory to Him in any situation we find ourselves and that is exactly what I have done and I still believe that with Him, everything is possible. To tell you the truth, we are in agony. For a man to lose all he had laboured in life in a swoop, will not be easy to forget.”
In the wake of the disaster, one of the philanthropists in the state, Dr Obiora Okonkwo, visited the traders last week and gave them a trailer load of cement to help rebuild the market.
He lamented the deplorable condition of the market, and blamed the government for not doing anything to assist the traders.
He noted, that, despite the taxes being paid to the government, the market lacked basic infrastructure.
“You people pay taxes, rates, and duties to the government which is good. Government uses that to work for the people. But I can’t see the presence of government in this market. Government has not done anything here. I can’t see it,” he said.
Okonkwo stressed that, “It is sad that one person died. Human life is precious and very important. People should be safe and secure in their business place. That is what defines good society. An organized society must care for its citizens wherever they are.”
Chairman of the Old Motor Car Parts Dealers Association, Ogbuevi Okechukwu Ezeobodo, in response, commended Okonkwo for his kind gesture and called for government support in the rebuilding process.
He said, “Truly, we are not pleased with the condition of the market. We need to put so many things in place to make the traders comfortable but you know we have little resources.”