No fewer than 685 traders lost properties worth N902.1 million to the March 22 fire incident at the Katsina Central Market, the investigating committee has said.
The Chairman, Administrative Committee for the Investigation of the Fire Incident, Alhaji Tasiu Dandagoro, made the disclosure while submitting the committee’s report to Gov Aminu Masari, on 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,” he said.
“Property loss was estimated at N902.1 million, excluding cost of the burnt down structures,” he said.
Dandagoro said that poor and rampant electricity connections may have been responsible for the inferno.
He said that during their investigation, they discovered that the market had neither functional fire fighting equipment nor boreholes, which could have assisted in putting up the fire promptly.
On the market reconstruction, the committee advised the government to either construct a single floor of 460 shops or two blocks of storey buildings to house over 700 shops.
The chairman urged the government to also reconstruct the structures directly; or use either Build, Operate and Transfer system or utilise a Public-Private-Partnership strategy.
He further advised the government to use the original plan of the market, which did not provide for temporary shops in the market.
Dandagoro said that the committee noted dishonesty among some traders during their investigation, that necessitated it to involve opinion leaders in the market, to analyse information provided by such traders, he said.
Responding, Gov Masari, thanked members of the committee for serving the state in that capacity, assuring 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,” he said.
He urged people in the state to repent to the Almighty Allah, because the state and the country were going through challenging times.(NAN)