A devastating fire outbreak has razed a popular mall in Bauchi State.
Many Bauchi residents woke up early in the week to devastating news of the fire outbreak that the destroyed the famous Bababa Shopping Complex in the city centre with goods worth hundreds of millions of naira destroyed within the six hours the inferno lasted. Although investigation is on to ascertain the cause of the fire, several eyewitnesses told Arewa Voice that it started from a corner shop, but was first noticed around 11.30pm the previous day.
Alhaji Murtala Maiyadi, Chairman, Bababa Shopping Complex pointed out that the unfortunate fire outbreak that destroyed no fewer than 90 shops and many other property could have been averted if the Bauchi State Fire Service was proactive. But the Public Relations Officer, Bauchi State Fire Service, Abubakar Baba, said that three vehicles were deployed to the scene to curtail further damage by the fire.
Maiyadi said: “Although officials of the Bauchi State Fire Service came to the scene almost immediately they were called, they couldn’t do much because they came with only one truck and the water was exhausted before the fire could be extinguished. I am sure that if they had come really prepared, we would not have recorded all these losses because as at the time they arrived, only five shops had been affected. Fire service should have water points within the metropolis for easy access to water.”
Also speaking with Arewa Voice, Sada’atu Ibrahim, a sales’ girl who had worked in one of the razed shops, said that her case was hopeless because she depended on the salary she got from working in the mall to help her aged mother and young siblings.
She said: “It is really difficult to accept this reality. When I left here on Friday night, I didn’t know that we would lose our shop and job the next morning. I depended on this job to help my family, for everything. Thank God we still have life.”
However, Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed, who was present on the night of the incident had, while sympathising with the victims of the fire incident, pledged to support them with capital to restore their businesses. The governor, while assessing the damage on a second visit, said the victims will be the first to benefit from the state government’s financial assistance plans for traders in the state.
He said: “On behalf of the government and people of Bauchi State, we are here to commiserate with members of the market associations and traders that were affected and the owner of the plaza over the monumental loss of property that happened yesterday night. I regret all the inconveniences and the loss that occurred here. It has come as a wakeup call to us as government. The fire service agency is not working in tandem with my vision for a new Bauchi State, but I want to assure you that we will take proactive measures to overcome the challenges.”
Governor Mohammed, who expressed concern at the level of damage caused by the fire incident, said the state government will take an estimate of the affected buildings for immediate rehabilitation. Even though the Bauchi State Emergency Management Agency, SEMA, has been on hand to assess the extent of damage caused by the midnight fire, the fate of traders whose goods were lost in the midnight inferno still hangs in the balance.