A midnight fire has razed part of the historical Urhokpota Hall in the ancient Benin City. But for the efforts of vigilant groups, the fire would have added to the growing numbers of mysterious fire outbreaks that have wrecked havoc across the city in recent times.
According to reports, the fire was said to have been put out by vigilant groups drawn from A design quarters in Benin City.
A sources quoted a certain attendants, Mr. Moses Obamwonyi, to have received an anonymous call that his office was on fire. The attendant inturn, quickly ran to the traditional ground and quickly called for help which attracted the vigilant groups.
Their effort was made possible with the availability of water in the adjacent Ethiope Publishing firm.
According to Chief Priest Nosakhare Isekhure, “Urhokpota Hall was built in 1906, 9 years before Nigerian became a country.
“The glaring summation is that the collapse of Benin Empire paved way for the possible amalgamation that crystallized into a country, which Florence Sham called “Nigeria”. For the purposes of continuous records, a senior administration officer in the office of the District office Mr. Crewe Reade conceived of the idea to build the hall when he noticed that the spot had an unusual crowds gathering to organize some form of agitation to the Oba palace.
“The architectural design is a combination of a typical County town hall building common in Victoria time in Britain, with an elevated semi pyramidal wall-Clock-House platform as those found in West Minster Abbey or the City Hall of Manchester In England.
“The Hall was built to accommodate and hear those who would want to representation to the Oba of Benin, motivated by the newly established indirect rule system, which the British colonialist brought after conquest.
“The areas in question have been known severally as “Unue-Ogun”, “URHO-OKPERE”. The space on which Ethiope Publishing House is built was also called “Eki Ekpokoro”