A building allegedly belonging to the family of Mr. Dipo Anisulowo, the Chief of Staff to Ekiti State Governor, has been razed to the ground by fire.
The structure, located in Ado Ekiti within the Oja Oba market, housed 30 lock-up shops occupied by traders.
The fire consumed property and goods worth about N150m belonging to the tenants.
An eyewitness account said the fire suddenly surged at about 7.30 pm and gutted the entire building formerly used by a new generation bank.
The traders operating under the aegis of Ekiti State Youth Traders’ Association linked the incident to alleged arson by unknown persons.
The chairman of the association, Opeyemi Fakayode, said it started at about 7.30 pm when the security guard had already arrived.
He said some of the property could have been saved by men of the fire services, but for lack of water in the firefighters’ tanker.
“When the firefighters came with two tankers, one of them had no water, while the other one with water could not pump, as the engine as reportedly faulty.
“It was after this we called Afe Babalola University, which deployed its tanker but the property had already been razed down completely before it arrived.
“None of us was able to salvage a pin from that place. Even the guard had arrived and had gone to change his clothes behind the building when he came back to meet a huge smoke coming through the windows.
“We suspect arson, because one of the window’s blade had bent, meaning that someone must have done that for sinister intention.
“We suspect that it was where they used to set the building on fire.
“It could not have been electrical problem, because our light had been disconnected before the incident.
“Even the fuse of the generator we were using collectively was intact and was put on neutral, which we believed could not have sparked fire.
“Some of us just went to the market to buy new products to sell when the incident happened and we may end up having nothing if we have no help.”
In a letter dated June 20 signed by the victims and addressed to the General Manager, State Emergency Management Agency, the traders appealed to the state government for relief materials.
They called for help from government and well-meaning Nigerians to return to business.