Oyo Global Forum further expresses dismay at the tragic fire incident that razed Akesan Market, Oyo Town’s main commercial area, almost entirely Sunday morning. The fire started in the earliest hours of Sunday. Unfortunately, Fire Service in Oyo Town, stationed just opposite the Market, did not respond as the officials there said there was no functioning equipment. Response then had to come from Ogbomoso Town, 50 kilometres away, and firefighters from there only started action against the raging fire after 6 AM after massive damage already.
We hold that the failure of government service in Oyo Town, that is, the firefighters, ensured the incident had a ravaging impact. Our people are now thrown into sorrow. Many of them had just stocked their shops. But even sadder and more concerning to us, security agents attached to Operation Burst disproportionately used force in responding to our people protesting the failure of the firefighters based in Oyo. The operatives killed at least three persons, including a woman. We demand the operatives involved in this heinous act be brought to justice .
Further, we make the following demands from Oyo State Government:
- A thorough investigation into the cause and impacts of the fire should be undertaken.
- Fire Service should immediately be more equipped for effective response during emergency.
- People should be compensated for their losses. This is even more in order because late response of the firefighters worsened the situation.
- Temporary relief measures should be put in place, including opening of Atiba Town Hall for traders to use temporarily.
- Akesan Market should ge rebuilt. This is even long over due. The rebuilding has to be undertaken as a matter of emergency. We expect a significant output is delivered in six months. The economy of the town is anchored in the market.
- Stricter safety standards should be enforced across Oyo State.
We will be pressing for these demands and playing our traditional interceding role between our people and the authorities to ensure our people are fairly and justly served.