The popular Sabo market in Oyo town, Oyo State, was razed by midnight fire on Tuesday.
Goods worth several millions of naira were said to have been destroyed in the incident.
It was gathered that the inferno, which started around 10:00 p.m, spread to other parts of the market.
Traders who were affected by the outbreak were lamenting as they counted their losses.
Firemen from the Oyo State Fire Service were at the scene to quell the fire. The Chief Fire Officer in the state, Mr Moshood Adewuyi, confirmed the incident, saying that the fire was traced to a nearby dump site.
He said, “Yes, it is true. We were called around 10:30pm. We went to the scene of the incident. You know our office is very close to Sabo.
“Immediately they got there, they discovered that some shops were still intact and they tried as much as possible to cut the spread. About eight shops were affected. There were cocoa, cashew nuts and some baskets in the shops.
“Let us now go to the main cause; the people there, having known that they have property worth millions of naira and a dump site, should not have left it burning.
“They set the fire but did not wait to monitor it. These are some of the mistakes that our people make.
I believe that there should be a distance between your shop and dump site but they left it and went home. It was the fire from the dump site that spread to those shops.”
Also, the Police Public Relations Officer, Olugbenga Fadeyi, had yet to respond to telephone calls and text messages that were sent to him on the incident.
Sabo market is one of the biggest food markets in the ancient town.
An eyewitness, Tunde Adebisi, said, “Firefighters from the Oyo State Fire Service were called upon immediately the fire started. Some shops and property were destroyed before their arrival.