The Terminus main market in Jos, Plateau state capital, was razed down by an inferno in the early hours of Saturday.
Adie Undie, Plateau police commissioner, who confirmed the incident, said the fire started around 1:30am.
Undie said the cause of the fire is yet to be ascertained.
“This incident happened around 1:30.a.m and our men and that of the Department of Fire Service responded promptly,” he said.
“The nature of the market really hindered the men of the fire service from accessing it with ease, but they did their best.
“My officers were able to cordon the arena and ensure hoodlums didn’t take undue advantage of the situation to loot.”
He said police officers will remain at the scene to ensure hoodlums do not take advantage of the situation to loot.
Abdulrahman Yusuf, chairman, traders association in Plateau, told journalists that over 270 shops with properties worth millions of naira were destroyed.
Yusuf called on the government to come to the aid of the traders, to enable them bounce back.
“We have one trader in this market that lost goods worth over N20 million,” Yusuf said. “So, it’s a huge loss and it’s quite devastating.”
The market was in 2001 razed by a fire, and again in 2016.