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Saturday, June 10, 2023

    Balogun Market and ‘Mysterious’ Fire

    Many traders have begun counting their losses following the fire outbreak at the popular Balogun Market in Lagos State, southwest Nigeria.

    Development Diaries reports that the fire, which started at 9:00am on Tuesday, spread from 34 Gbajumo Street to 32 Balogun Street, where shoes are sold, destroying three buildings and over 900 shops.

    Fire outbreaks are not entirely strange occurrences in Nigeria, but when the frequency and timing of them become questionable, it is a cause for concern.

    A fire outbreak was reported at 3/5 Gbajumo Street, Italian Plaza, Balogun Market in January this year. Also, in October 2022, a fire outbreak at the same market was reported, with goods worth millions of naira destroyed.

    One peculiar thing about these fire outbreaks has been that the cause is always unknown, although, for the January incident, the fire service said the cause of it ‘could’ be attributed to an electrical upsurge.

    As for this recent incident, although the Lagos State Fire Service said that they arrived at the scene on time, many goods were destroyed.

    One complaint put out by some of the victims was that when the fire service came around, they could not access the buildings on fire because the makeshift shops could not allow them to drive through.

    According to them, this has been happening in the market as the area had narrow roads and the human population affected accessibility to the building.

    This is an indication that there needs to be an alteration and proper planning in the arrangement and placement of market stalls.

    It is also interesting to note that most of the victims, according to media reports, described the fire as ‘mysterious’ as they narrated incidences of persons making incantations on the building before the fire started.

    There are various factors that one could point out as causes of recurrent fire outbreaks. Some of these issues include poor urban planning, poor maintenance culture of equipment and appliances, as well as use of inferior wiring and electrical materials.

    Negligence, on the part of the people, and non-enforcement of basic environmental and building safety codes are other factors.

    Development Diaries calls on the Caretaker Management Committee of the market to look into the aforementioned issues and find ways to educate traders on safety precautions.

    We also call on the committee to commence a proper investigation into the cause of the latest fire incident to forestall a repeat.

    Furthermore, we urge the Lagos State government to play its part in ensuring that adequate mitigation measures and resultant risk minimisation mechanisms are considered to prevent further fire outbreaks.

    Chinomso Momoh
    Chinomso Momohhttp://www.impacthouse.org.ng
    Chinomso Thelma Momoh is a Journalist with nine (9) years of experience in journalism, media and communication.

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