OKO Baba plank market was razed down by fire which affected parts of the oko baba sawmills located in the
Ebute Meta area of Lagos state
and was reported to have
destroyed property estimated at millions of naira.
The raging fire which started at about 2:am was threatening
to spread into nearby Makoko,
a community of stilt houses by the banks of the Lagos Lagoon.
A correspondent of Black Box learnt that the fire,
which began around 2am on Tuesday, was caused by the
stub of a cigarette thrown into the sawdust.
The report claimed that more than 200 shops were
consumed by the inferno,
further stating that this is the
fourth time in less than a year that the Oko Baba sawmill has been gutted by fire.
A trader, Mrs. Ruth Ajunwa,
disclosed that she lost over N3m worth of goods,
including N300,000 in cash which was also burnt.
She narrated her ordeal after the incident, “I was called around 2am that sawmill was on fire. I lost three important machines to the fire.
“I had a cash of N300, 000,
which was from my previous day sales. I wanted to take
the money to the bank this morning, where do I go from here now?”
It was also noticed that some electric wires were also burnt by the fire. Officials of the electricity distribution company were seen disconnecting the wires from poles.
Another trader,
OyeAgbodeleye, said they had mobilised the community to put out the fire. He said “There was no power supply at the time,
so it had nothing to do with electricity.
“When we heard, we rushed here. Four industrial machines were burnt. Each of them is worth about N10m.”
The president of the
Lagos Mainland Sawmillers Association, Alhaji Abdul-
Ganiyu Onikeku, also said the
fire was caused by a cigarette
stub.
Onikeku said hundreds of people had been rendered jobless by the incident, appealing to the
government to assist the traders.
“We have been trying our best to stop this frequent outbreak of fire, but you know human error is beyond our control.
“For instance, I am aware this fire was caused by a man who smoked and decided to drop the
stub in the sawdust and went his way. That was how the fire
engulfed this place.
“We have been trying to get help from the government for past fire disasters, but sadly we
have never got any.
“Some of these people took loans from banks to finance
their business. Some got loans from cooperative societies and relatives,” he said.
Maureen Alasa, an eye witness
who took pictures of the burning timber market from the Third Mainland Bridge, said she
only noticed dark smoke rising from afar, as one fire truck was heading towards the scene.
“I saw the huge fire, dark smoke everywhere and my concern was about houses in the
area. Fire fighters would have a
hard time putting it out except it’s going to be done by air,” she
said.
It was also learnt that on August 20, 2014; more than 5,000 shanties were burnt in the
community after an overnight fire ravaged the area.
On January 13, 2015, it was also reported that a household in the
community lost three children,
while hundreds of residents were rendered homeless after another fire gutted the same
sawmill.
And on March 17, 2015 it was reported that a generator went up in flames which spread down to many of the shanties and destroyed some houses.
The latest incident affected the
industrial part of the sawmill.
The Oko baba market is a
sprawling timber market on the
Lagos lagoon close to the Third Mainland Bridge.


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