By Anayo Onukwugha, Port Harcourt
Hoodlums had their day on Friday night as they looted good, cash and proper of people following two fire incidents that occurred in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.
One of the fire incidents occured along Bishop Okoye Street in the Mile Three area of Port Harcourt, where goods and property worth over N10million were destroyed.
The second incident occured along Chief Odum Street in the Ogbumnabali area of Port Harcourt, where over 20 shanties were destroyed rendering hundreds of residents homeless.
Eyewitnesses told LEADERSHIP Sunday that the hoodlums took advantage of the situation to break into shops and rooms, carting away goods, cash and other valuables.
At Bishop Okoye Street in Mile Three, an eye-witness said the fire lasted for over five hours, saying the Rivers State Fire Service responded early but did not have enough water in their truck, as youths in the area also got water and help in putting out the fire just past midnight.
Speaking to journalists on the fire incident, Chairman of Bishop Okoye Shop Owners Association, Uche Okeke, decried the level of looting by hoodlums.
He said: “The crowd here was excess. 80 per cent of people here are not traders, some of them are hoodlums. They only came to break into peoples’ shops, stealing their goods. The fire was something that was mysterious.
“We have not taking stock of the number. But I can tell you that all the warehouses in Bishop Okoye Street foodstuff market have been burnt down.
“The foodstuff burnt are Rice, beans, garri, groundnut oil, flour, drinks were affected. Because of the looting, the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in Mile Three was here with his men and was calling for back up because of the crowd, but they didn’t come to assist him and because of that we have a lot of losses.
“The Rivers State Fire Service came, but if they had come earlier, the fire would have been stopped in one hour. Even when they came, they didn’t have enough water. We were here till past midnight.
“Some boys were here helping to stop the fire, others were here breaking into shops, even the ones that were not affected by the fire.”
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