SUNDAY AGBO, Abakaliki
Traders and workers at the Abakaliki Mechanic Village in Ebonyi State are now counting their losses after waking up to the rude shock of a fire inferno which destroyed their shops, goods and properties worth millions of naira.
The fire disaster was allegedly caused by the vigilante members who set tyres on fire at night to illuminate the area.
According to some of the victims, since the inferno, the vigilante stopped reporting to their duty post.
According to a victim, the vigilante members allegedly aided and abated the escalation of the fire. Tyres, which were kept close to a shop where engine oil was stored, were seen removed from their original positions, thereby paving way for the fire to destroy twenty five drums of oil other goods inclusive.
Investigations reveal fire fighters were alerted to the scene of the incident, but effort made by them to put off the fire was unsuccessful after which they vacated the scene without returning.
One of the victims, Friday Ada, who deal on clothes in the market, lamented the destruction caused by the fire. He said that his goods worth over two hundred thousand (N200,000) Naira perished in the inferno.
He stated: “I got the information that my shop gutted fire. I came to the shop and discovered that it was the security officers who set tyres on fire and it spread to the engine oil shop, which spread to my shop destroying my goods.
“Right now, I don’t have any money; the shop is my only means of survival”
He therefore appealed to government for financial support.
Another victim whose goods were destroyed, a shoe and tyre dealer, Patrick Okoro Ikechukwu, noted that the damage caused by the fire was devastating, adding that none of his goods could be salvaged from the
incident. He also called on government for support.
The Landlord of the destroyed shops who expressed dismay over the carelessness of the vigilante group stated that since the incident, he has not seen any vigilante officer, stressing that it was just last week that the vigilante came on board because of the series of stealing that occur regularly in the site at night.
One of the Mechanic Village Union Executives, Emmanuel Okafor, described the incident as pathetic, advising the fire victims to be steadfast in prayers and not to relent in their service to God, adding that if the allegations leveled against the vigilante officers were confirmed tobe true, the damage done by the officers would be paid.