A massive fire is raging at the main market in the Nigerian town of Azare in northern Bauchi state, with dozens of shops – possibly more than 100 – burnt, according to eyewitnesses.
The blaze started at about midnight local time and some nine hours later, firemen are still struggling to extinguish it.
Goods, ranging from textiles to foodstuffs, have been destroyed in the fire.
The cause of the disaster is still not known.
Bauchi government spokesman Umar Ibrahim Sade told me that firemen are finding it difficult to put out the blaze because of poor access to the market’s “nooks and crannies”.
Photos of the fire have been put up on Twitter, with some residents calling on people to make dua (an Islamic term for supplication to God) for them.
Meanwhile, at least three people were killed and many others wounded in rain storms that swept through Bauchi city, Azare and several other towns in the state on Saturday.
Hundreds of homes and other buildings were damaged, and some even collapsed.
Families forced to flee their homes are now sheltering with relatives.
The authorities in Bauchi state say they are assessing the extent of the destruction with a view to assisting the victims.