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Last Updated: Wednesday, 10 March, 2004, 16:58 GMT
Huge blaze hits Lagos shanty town
A burnt sculpture of a woman breastfeeding her child lies among the fire debris
Many mill traders have been left homeless
A fire in a slum area of Nigeria's main commercial city Lagos has destroyed several acres of wooden shacks, leaving hundreds homeless.

The fire - which a BBC correspondent in Lagos said was the biggest he had seen for 40 years - was fuelled by wood supplies at sawmills in Ebute-Metta.

According to the Red Cross, at least 16 people were injured in the blaze which broke out on Tuesday night.

But Lagos state governor Bola Tinubu said there were no casualties.

Poor conditions

The cause of the fire is not known, but some residents have suggested that an overturned candle could be to blame.

"I lost everything. Nothing left," 40-year-old Mojirayo Ojugbele told AP news agency.

Carrying two children and a chicken she said: "After we eat this, maybe we will starve."

Governor Tinubu blamed the conditions in the shanty town for the extent of the damage.

"The houses are not regular houses, they are shanty houses," he told the BBC.

"The people are not supposed to be there, they are living against planning and building regulations."

An unnamed official told AP that the number left homeless by the fire could reach the thousands - as families of 5-10 people cram into tiny shacks.

In pictures: Nigeria blaze
10 Mar 04  |  In Pictures


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