A mystery fire yesterday razed the secretariat of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.
A similar incident occurred at the popular Ekeki Motor Park in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State where five persons were burnt and 30 shops destroyed.
Nigerian Pilot learnt that the fire, which gutted the NLC office, located at Bekweri Wosu Street in D-Line started at dawn.
An eyewitness, Thomas Chinda, said the incident drew the attention of residents of the area when noise and flames from burning goods engulfed the office.
He said that the inferno shocked the people because there was total blackout in the area when the tragedy occurred.
Chinda said that but for the timely arrival of the men of the Rivers State Fire Service, the entire building would have been burnt.
Chairman of NLC, Comrade Chris Oruge, who commented on the development, suspected it to be arson.
He said: “My confidential secretary told me at about 5am to 6am that the information she got was that the fire started early this morning (yesterday) at about 4am. She said that the fire started from my own office and the issue is that, there was no light. Nobody can say it was an electrical fire. The worst hit is my office.”
According to him, the suspicion of arson was based on the report made available to him, that the police had visited the labour office earlier, saying that somebody had come forward to report to them that there was problem, even when the NLC had scheduled a meeting same day in its office for the afternoon.
Oruge told journalists that he had reported the incident to the police officially as well as the NLC president and the national general secretary.
The fire at the Bayelsa motor park, which started at 9am, turned the shops and offices to rubbles.
Some of the affected traders claimed that it was caused by an explosion from a power generating set. They traced it to a shop owner, who was filling his generating set with petrol.
According to one of the traders, the spare parts dealer was pouring fuel into the generating set when it had contact with the exhaust and went up in flames.
He alleged that men of the state fire service came to the scene two hours after the fire started, adding that the late arrival of the firemen angered some youths, who turned them back.

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