On Friday, there was a fire incident at the ever busy Agbeni – Ogunpa market in Ibadan. It is however shocking to note that as newsworthy as the inferno was, it didn’t get the attention of Nigerian media houses – maybe because no one would give the press guys brown envelopes.
As the fire was destroying properties, especially goods and other market wares, the state fire service was called and they quickly got to the market but could not get to the site on time not because they had faulty vehicles or difficulty in getting water, the jam-packed nature of the market made it impossible for them to get their large vehicles to the place.
Remember I’ve written about the ineffectiveness of emergency services in Oyo state, I’ve also written about how the slow response of the fire service made it difficult to quickly check the fire outbreak at Alesinloye market, Araromi Market, and elsewhere. But this time, the market traders were responsible for the complicated nature of the rescue exercise.
An eyewitness told IBPulse.com the scene was annoying to watch as goods and furniture belonging to the traders in the market blocked the way for the fire service vehicles.
“They had everything they needed to combat the fire outbreak, but the road was blocked by the traders selling in the middle of the road. The fire service had to just wait for a very long time,” the witness said.
The witness also noted that the presence of numerous parked cars along the road narrowed the width available to motorists and emergency response crew members.
“When you see things like this happening in our society all the time, you tend to ask yourself why are our people stubborn and would not obey simple rules of not displaying their goods in the middle of the road?”
The witness added that when the firemen saw they wouldn’t get to the site of the inferno on time, they had to ride on some goods displayed.
“It was a bad sight to behold – they were driving on spaghetti and other goods that the traders left in the middle of the road.”
The confusion in the market on that day was also made more confusing with the presence of the Oyo state gubernatorial candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Teslim Folarin, in the market.
“His thugs were creating confusion and sending people into panic mode,” another eyewitness told IBPulse.com
In one of his live TV interviews, the governor of Oyo state Senator Abiola Ajimobi had said the decision of his government to relax its stance on clearing the roads of people buying and selling is connected to incessant complaints being made by those affected.
“If we are fighting market women, traders and others, who will vote for us” Ajimobi said.