The Ekiti State Governor, Biodun Oyebanji, on Monday, visited the burnt Shasha market in Ikere Ekiti, Ikere Local Government Area, promising to support traders, who lost their valuables to the inferno that engulfed a section of the market, on Saturday.
Oyebanji, who lamented how multi-million naira wares and other structures, were razed, urged traders across the state to be conscious of their actions during the dry season to avert calamity.
A section of the market located between Ado-Ikere road, was around 4pm, on Saturday, gutted by fire, with property worth millions of naira destroyed in the evening inferno.
Visiting the market alongside members of the State Executive Council, yesterday, Oyebanji assured the Hausa and Yoruba traders who were affected of support to recover their losses.
The Governor’s delegation, led by the Deputy Governor, Chief (Mrs) Monisade Afuye, pledged that the state government will carry out some restructuring in the market, by replacing some thatch-roofed and other old structures with modern ones.
The governor added that officers and staff of the Ministry of Trade and Investment will be visiting the market to enumerate the number of victims and take other vital information to provide proper and relevant intervention guide.
In line with the promise made to the traders during the electioneering campaign, the governor, said the road leading to the market from the Ado-Ikere-Akure road will be graded to ease transportation along the axis.
“Governor Biodun Oyebanji sympathises with you on the losses you suffered, but let us be cautious in all our dealings this time because dry season is around now.
“We thank God that no life was lost. We can still make up for those things we have lost through personal efforts and government intervention. But if anyone died, it is irreversible.
“Let us be careful. We never knew the generating set that caused the incident would spark up a fire. We thank God that the person who caused the arson also owned up and that he was responsible for it. But the government won’t punish him because it was not intentional.
“The government will surely give support for the fact our Governor wants everybody plying his trade in Ekiti to be happy and prosperous, not minding where you came from.
“We will provide roads and other facilities that will guarantee safety and good life here. I also appeal to traders to cooperate with the leadership of the Traders’ Association for the maintenance of some of the facilities they provided.
“People shouldn’t resist payment of little rates to maintain them because the government can’t do it alone, we need your support”.
Recounting how the incident happened, the Chairman of the Traders’ Association in the market, Adamu Abdulhameed, said the fire surged around 4pm from a generating set and spread to other adjoining shops, including a cold room and razed them down.
He said; “We tried our best to quench the fire. We were in the mosque when it started, but the fire was beyond our control.
“The severity of the fire incident wouldn’t have got to this level if we have a fire service station here that could have responded swiftly and in a better manner”.
In a similar fashion, the Iyaloja of Shasha Market, Chief (Mrs) Feyisayo Ayajo, made a passionate appeal to the government to establish a Fire Service Station in the market to always respond to any arson incident timeously.
“This market is big and viable enough for a fire service station. We plead with the Governor to kindly look at this demand and act appropriately to our request. Losing our property to fire can cripple our businesses and render us economically unviable”.
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