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Unknown arsonists on Tuesday evening attacked and set ablaze the shopping complex of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Zamfara State Council secretariat, located at Gusau, the state capital.

According to the shop owners, suspected thugs stormed the press center and started vandalising one of the shops and later poured petrol on the plastic items in the shop and lit it with lighter.

“The arsonists chased away the shop operators and others who were trying to put off the fire. The arsonists waited until the shop was engulfed with fire before leaving.

“They chased us away from our shops and made sure that the shop they targeted was set ablaze and engulfed in the inferno before they left.

“Before we knew it, more than four other shops had gone up in flames,” they lamented.

One of the shop operators, Mallam Umar, who sells provisions, told newsmen that when he got the opportunity to open his shop after the arsonists had left, his shop was full of smoke.

“Though fire did not burn my goods, most of my goods got smashed and stolen by some who posed as helpers.

“Honestly, I can’t quantify what I lost now because I am yet to rearrange my shop to know what is missing or damaged,” he said.

Mohammed Rabiu, a fashion designer who operates one of the shops, said the arsonists deliberately stopped the people from providing help when the fire started which made the inferno affect many shops.

“I and others were watching helplessly as the suspected thugs were unleashing terror on our shops; if not for the quick arrival of the fire service, the entire NUJ Secretariat would have been burnt to ashes,” he said.

Another fashion designer who also sells clothes explained that he was yet to ascertain what he lost during the rush hour as many entered his shop to pack out tailoring machines and clothes.

Malama Rahamatu, a restaurant operator whose shop was one of the shops mostly affected by the inferno, said she lost money and other valuables, including food items to the fire incident.

“I kept some money which was meant for buying items from Kano and left for home, with the intention to come back later in the evening to give the POS operator to transfer, but before I came back, the money and other things in the shop had gone up in flames,” she said.

The Acting Chairman of the Council, Comrade Ibrahim Mohammed Boko and the Secretary, Alhaji Abubakar Ahmed described the inferno as a disaster and a big dent to the revenue generation of the council.

The NUJ officials called on the security operatives in the State to fish out the perpetrators.


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