By Kunle SHONUGA
An early morning inferno on Sunday destroyed goods and property worth millions of naira at a shopping complex along Lanjorin Street in Ilorin.
About 16 shops and five-room apartment were affected in the fire disaster.
A victim, Mr Akeem Oyeniyi, popularly known as Murphy, blamed the disaster on the burning of cables by scavengers that lived behind the shops.
Oyeniyi, who explained that the inferno gulped all property in the shops, asserted that the shop owners had at several times warned the scavengers against such activities.
“They live behind these shops and burn the cables to remove aluminium. We have warned them several times.
“They used to burn it in the day, but because we used to complain, they changed the time to the night when we would have closed for the day.
“Immediately they knew of the incident, they fled the place leaving us with a huge loss”, he said.
One Mr Sola Anifowose lost warehoused furniture and upholstery such as sets of cushion chairs, doors and tables, among others in the disaster.
Another victim, Mr Abayomi Owoola, popularly known as Yomex Promoter, said all his musical instruments were lost to the inferno.
“About 30 ready-made imported pairs of speakers sold at N270, 000 each, Plasma television sets, air conditioners, mixers and engines are gutted by the fire.
“Not even a pin I was able to salvage,” he said, urging both federal and the state government to provide succour for the victims.
Mrs Florence Ogundele, who operated a soft drink depot, said she had lost all her capital which was sourced from bank and cooperative loans to the inferno.
She appealed to the National Emergency Management Agency and the state Emergency Management agency to come to their aid to ameliorate the loss.
Our correspondent who visited the scene reports that the victims were seen with some sympathisers wailing over the incident with an appeal to government, corporate bodies and individuals to assist.
The Spokesman for Kwara State Fire Service Mr Akeem Hassan, confirmed the disaster.
He said that it was a passerby that called the agency to alert it of the fire incident.
Hassan said that the service was able to put off the fire and saved it from extending to other parts of the shopping complex and some residential apartments attached to it.
He warned people to be cautious of the way they handle power and fire during this harmattan season.
Hassan also warned residents and shop owners to always put off their electrical appliances when not in use to avoid fire outbreak.