A mysterious fire broke out in the early hours of Tuesday, at Onitsha main market, in Anambra State.
Main Market, Onitsha, is reputed to be the biggest market in West Africa, and hosts a large population of traders, who are mainly importers of goods, and deal in varied products.
A source, Mr Barth Ifediora, who raised alarm, said the fire broke out early morning of Tuesday, in a section of the market known as White House.
White House is the office of the leaders of the market, an expansive two-storey building and hosts several offices, halls for meetings in the first and second floor, while the ground floor hosts shops.
Another source said: “The area mostly affected by the fire is the block of shops under the white house, where expensive lace materials are sold.”
Martin Agbili, the fire service boss in Anambra State, could not be reached as of the time of filing this report.
Traders have, however, mobilized to the market to fight the fire.
TheNewsGuru.com (TNG) reports that Onitsha main market is one of the largest markets in West Africa based on geographical size and volume of goods.
It is based in the city of Onitsha, in Onitsha North Local Government Area, the commercial capital of Anambra State in southeastern Nigeria. The town is located on the east bank of the Niger River that joined the Anambra River.
The building that made up the main market Onitsha was regarded as the largest in Nigeria. That building was destroyed during the Nigeria civil war in 1968 but was rebuilt after the war.
The market is governed by one of the most revered traders associations on the continent, the Onitsha Market Traders Association (OMATA).
Most of the major import merchants from Eastern Nigeria have their head offices within the market. The average traders in the area are known to bring in at least six consignments of 40 tonnes (40-feet containers) of goods annually.
Some of the major importers do more than 200 consignments of 40 tonnes of goods per year. These include jewelry, clothing, household, industrial, and office equipment.
It is bounded by the River Niger to the West and Fegge through Osumaru Road from the East. The market is secured by the Onitsha Main Market Vigilante Services working under the auspices of the Nigeria Police Force.
The market can rightfully be described as the commercial powerhouse of West Africa. It is massively patronized by merchants in the ECOWAS sub-region including Accra, Abidjan, Douala, Niamey , Cotonou , and elsewhere on the continent, to mention a few.