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Katsina market fire destroyed properties of 685 traders – Committee

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Properties of 685 traders were reportedly destroyed in the Katsina Central Market fire incident, the committee chair report says.

The Chairman, Administrative Committee for the Investigation of the Fire Disaster, Alhaji Tasiu Dandagoro, disclosed the information while handing the committee’s report to Governor Bello Masari Wednesday in Katsina.

“The committee identified 685 victims as directly affected, 605 shops destroyed, out of which, 59 traders were on attachment, and 21 others had their properties looted,” the committee chairman said.

“Property destroyed by the inferno was estimated at about N902.1 million, excluding the cost of the burnt down structures,” he said.

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Dandagoro attributed poor and rampant electricity connections to be among the likely causes of the inferno.

He revealed that they discovered in the course of their investigation that the market had neither functional fire fighting equipment nor boreholes, which could have assisted in putting up the fire first-hand.

On reconstructing the market, the committee advised the Masari-led government to construct a single floor of 460 shops or on the alternative a two block of storey buildings with over 700 shop capacity.

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Dandogoro further advised the Masari-led government to reconstruct the structures directly; or use either the “Build, Operate and Transfer system” or utilise a Public-Private-Partnership strategy.

He equally called on the government to use the original market plan, which did not make provision for temporary shops in the market.

However, the committee chairman expressed his displeasure at the level of insincerity displayed by some traders during the investigation.

This, he said necessitated the involvement of opinion leaders to analyse information provided by such traders.

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Governor Masari, while responding to the committee’s finding, thanked its members for serving the state in that capacity.

He assured them that all and sundry would contribute in the restoration of the market, particularly civil servants.

“My suggestion is that civil servants will also contribute in the reconstruction of the market, I have already put them on alert, because in Katsina State, civil servants and public office holders consume more than 80 per cent of the resources,” Masari said.

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