Traders at the popular furniture market in Biogbolo, a suburb of Yenagoa metropolis, Bayelsa State, on Sunday lost millions of naira to fire which gutted the market. It reportedly started around 4am yesterday.
The cause of the incident could not be ascertained, but sources claimed the fire was ignited by miscreants over failure by market authorities to pay some youths what they call ‘ground breaking money’.
As at this (Monday) morning, what remains of an ever busy market, according to credible sources, are charred remnants of whares of business people and market dealers, even as traders expressing regrets over the losses were common sights across sections of the market.
In 2017, the same market was burnt by youths who protested the murder of a girl.
Some of the affected traders were seen accusing the youths of causing the fire as they had earlier threatened to burn the market, if specific demands from them were not met.
One of those affected said: "Some of the youths approached market elders asking for money. They demanded ‘matching ground’ money. I saw five boys setting the place on fire. I struggled to secure some of my furniture but I couldn’t because the fire was severe."
Chairman of the Yenagoa City Council, Nimizuoa Uroupaye, called an emergency meeting between the leadership of Biogbolo community and the traders.
He expressed his sympathies on the development, urged those affected not to be afraid, promising the culprits would be brought to justice.