Lagos: A huge fire broke out in the early hours of Monday in the busy Balogun market in Lagos, the economic hub of Nigeria, the country`s rescue agency said.
Spokesperson for the country`s National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) in Lagos Ibrahim Farinloye told Xinhua news agency that the cause of the fire was not known and casualties, if any, are yet to be ascertained.
Xinhua reporters at the scene said officials of the federal and Lagos state fire services were attempting to put out the fire in the building where it broke out as the smoke thickened, with traders throwing down their goods from the upper floors of the building.
Ganiyu Olayiwola, the deputy controller of the federal fire service, told Xinhua that goods and property worth millions were lost in the inferno that gutted more than 100 shops in a section of the Balogun International Market.
The official said the fire began at about 4:36 a.m.
Some of the traders who spoke with Xinhua blamed high voltage and poor fire-fighting facilities at the market for the disaster.
Folorunsho Adekeye, a businessman, said traders rushed to the market when they learnt of the fire but it was too late as the fire raged violently.
He blamed the fire on the high voltage electricity supplied to the market, adding that hoodlums stole most of the salvaged items until the police came to drive them away.
Balogun market, one of the largest in Nigeria, is spread across many streets on Lagos Island and is regarded by the local people as one of the best places to get great bargains.