By Mosunmola Ayobami, Kwara
A 2019 governorship aspirant of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kwara State, Mallam Saliu Mustapha, has expressed grief over the inferno that gutted the ancient Owode Market in Offa, Offa Local Government Area in the state.
He said it was saddening that the fire ended up razing about 23 shops while victims could not salvage any of their wares during the incident.
In a statement issued in Ilorin on Thursday, Mustapha, the founder of Saliu Mustapha Foundation, described the loss incurred to the inferno as most unfortunate and frightening.
The former Deputy National Chairman of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) recalled that the ancient Owode market became a melting pot that plays host to merchants and traders alike.
He said the latest fire incident came at a time the traders were still reeling from the shock that enveloped the market during a similar inferno, which occurred some three years ago.
Mustapha, who noted that the fire disaster was blamed on power surge, admonished traders to always adopt precautionary measures and switch off all electrical appliances while departing the market for their homes.
He sympathized with the victims, who lost valuables to the fire incident and the people of Offa over what he referred to as ‘calamitous situation’.
According to him, “I found the news of Owode Market fire incident very shocking and frightening. That it came at a time merchants and traders alike were still reeling from the shock that enveloped the market three years ago over a similar inferno was most disturbing.
“About 23 shops were reportedly lost to the inferno, and this typified the degree of the disaster and its negative effects on the economy of Offa township. This is because the ancient Owode market has become a melting pot that plays host to merchants and traders alike from different parts of the country.
“While the fire incident had been blamed on power surge, I want to urge our people in the market to adopt precautionary measures and switch off all electrical appliances before leaving the market for their homes.
“I sympathize with the victims of Owode market fire disaster, who incurred different losses and the people of Offa in general, especially our traditional ruler, the Olofa of offa, Oba Mufutau Gbadamosi Esuwoye the second for this unfortunate incident.”