Planned markets demolition: Traders seek Oba of Benin intervention

Traders in the popular Osa market otherwise known as ‘Ekiosa market’ have appealed to His Royal Majesty, Ewuare II, Oba of Benin, CFR to prevail on the Edo State government to halt the planned demolition of the market.

PHOTO CAPTION: TRADERS BEGGING HIS ROYAL MAJESTY, EWUARE II, OBA OF BENIN TO HALT GOVERNMENT PLANNED DEMOLITION OF EKIOSA MARKET IN OBA PALACE IN BENIN CITY.

This comes on the heels of a 2-week ultimatum handed down to traders at Oba market and Osa market, both in Benin City to take shelters in other markets for their trading activities.

The ultimatum was issued by the government, through the leader of Edo State Market Women Association, Madam Blacky Omoregie Ogiamien, pending when the markets are rebuilt.

Blessing Owie, the spokesperson of the traders who staged a peaceful protest to Oba Palace in Benin City, said that the government planned to demolish Osa market will send traders into indebtedness and penury having obtained loan facilities to reconstruct their shops when government intervention was not forthcoming after the fire disaster that engulfed the market on December 19, 2019.

She appealed to Oba Ewuare II to request the State government to provide a perimeter fencing, gate and standby fire service station in the market alternative to the planned demolition.

The spokesperson also appealed to the Oba to send a delegation of Chiefs to the market for an on-the-spot assessment of the markets in order not to leave anyone in doubt.

According to her, they were excluded from the State government N100 million livelihood support loan meant for traders who incurred losses in the disaster.

“We cry to the Palace for help as our last resort. When fire inferno occurred in Ekiosa in 2019, we lost our shops and goods. I lost four shops with goods. We hustle under the rain and sunshine, trading along the road and at times, the government taskforce came and drove us away. We had to borrow. We took loans to rebuild our shops.

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“Each trader was made to pay N20,000 levy to market security before permission was given to rebuild the shops with blocks. We also pay security and waste levies and taxes to Oredo Local Government Council daily.

“We didn’t get support from the government; we did not benefit from the N100 million that was given to traders who lost their shops in the market fire.

“We have widows, single mothers and breadwinners amongsy us.

“Our father should help us to talk to the Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki not to demolish the market. Rather, he should fence the market and provide gates for us. Our businesses are our lives and only means of survival,” Owie pleaded.

Responding on behalf of Benin Palace Chiefs who received the protesting market women, Chief Uyi Okungbowa, the Ogua of Benin, stated that their grievances have been duly acknowledged and communicated to concerned authorities.

Chief Okungbowa advised the traders to shun violence, assuring them of amicable resolution of the issues canvassed by them.

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