Nobody died among Oyo market inferno protesters - Police deny

At least three persons have allegedly been killed in Oyo town following gunshots by security operatives after some people protested against the failure of the fire-fighters in the town to respond to a ravaging fire incident at Akesan Market.

The fire, which started around 2:00 a.m., razed the market, leaving only a few shops and a filling station.

According to eyewitnesses, the fire-fighters, whose station is just opposite the market or some 20 metres away, could not respond.

Also, the Oyo Global Forum, a civic organisation in the ancient town, said: “Only a few shops and a filling station were not affected.

It was reported that the Fire Service office in Oyo is nothing less than 20 metres to the market which they could not mobilise to stop the raging fire. But the fire Service further revealed that its equipment was not functioning. Fire-fighters had to be mobilised from Ogbomoso Town, 50 kilometres away, after massive damage.

“We condemn this failure of government service. People concerning is the disproportionate use of force in response to the angry residents who were protesting at the gate of the fire service which was near Akesan in Oyo.

It was also added that Ogbomosho fire-fighters are currently fighting the fire and we hope it is stopped before further damage.

While sympathise with our people, particularly men and women trading at Akesan. It is a sad way to start the year.

We will be requesting that Oyo State Government should compensate the traders and rebuild the market, and they should also enforce stricter safety standards across Oyo state.

Meanwhile, the Oyo State Police Command has denied the reports that three people were killed while protesting failure of the fire-fighters in the town to respond to the fire incident.

In a statement by the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Olugbenga Fadeyi and made available to journalists in Ibadan yesterday, the police said: Contrary to widely spread news on the fire incident at Akesan Market, there was no single shot from the police personnel in Oyo. We are only deployed to the scene to prevent hoodlums from capitalising on the situation or rioting on shops and property in the area. And concerted efforts are being intensified to prevent breakdown of law and order.

However, the state governor, Seyi Makinde, has commiserated with the victims of the fire outbreak and promised to investigate cause of the incident.

Makinde, while reacting through his official Facebook account, said he received the shocking news of the fire outbreak and appealed for calm.

While Gov. Seyi Makinde reacting to the shocking incident, he wrote; I received the shock news of the fire outbreak at Oja Akesan in Oyo Town in the early hours of this morning. My words alone cannot convey my deep sadness the moment I heard this incident and I strongly sympathize with the victims. Am pleading everyone to be calm as we investigate the circumstances around the unfortunate incident.

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