Dozens of shops were razed by fire at the Katsina Central market, in Katsina State on Monday.
The fire, which started at about 7:30am in the Sabo Ungwa area where the market was located, burnt down shops where household items, electronics, fabrics, food items, confectionery, and drinks are sold in wholesale.
According to an eyewitness, Abass Labaran, a shop owner at the market, the fire was an act of God, adding that over 100 shops were burnt.
He said the fire started from the Unity Bank located in heart of the market and further spread to other stalls, Channels Television quoted the eyewitness as saying.
“The inferno was not caused by anything but an act of Almighty Allah, it all starts from one shop and spread across to about a thousand shops. My shop boy was the first to inform me of the incident,” the eyewitness said.
But another trader in the market, who identified himself simply as Saheed, attributed the fire to the explosion from gas cylinders sold in one of the shops.
He said a loud noise like that of an explosion was heard when the fire started.
A shop owner, Fatimah Abdullahi, whose shop was not affected, said the belonging to her other colleagues who have travelled to Lagos and Onitsha to buy goods were razed by the inferno.
“A friend called us around 8am that the market was on fire. We arrived here and we tried to salvage whatever we can salvage. My shop is not affected but those that belong to my friends are affected. Unfortunately, some hoodlums, disguising as sympathisers exploited the situation to loot some of the shops. We have called those affected so that they can return home on time,” she told the Punch.
Firefighters from both the Federal and state fire service managed to put out the inferno after four hours.