By FUNMILAYO OKUNADE
EKITI STATE- Gov. Biodun Oyebanji of Ekiti has pledged support to the traders who lost their valuables to the fire that engulfed a section of Shasha market in Ikere-Ekiti on Saturday.
The governor gave the pledge when he visited the market on Monday.
Oyebanji, who was represented by his Deputy, Mrs Monisade Afuye, also said that his administration would carry out some restructuring in the market by replacing some of the old structures with modern ones.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that a section of the market, located on Ado-Ikere road, was gutted by fire on Saturday, with property worth millions of naira destroyed.
The governor, who lamented the level of destruction of wares at the market, called on traders across the state to be conscious of their actions, especially during the dry season, to avert calamity.
The governor said that officials of the Ministry of Trade and Investment would be visiting the market to get information on the number of affected traders and other vital information so as to provide proper intervention.
In line with his electioneering promises, the governor said the road leading to the market from Ado-Ikere-Akure road would be graded to ease transportation along the axis.
“The governor 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’s intervention. But if anyone had died, that would have been irreversible.
“Let us be careful. We never knew that the generating set that caused the incident would have any spark. But, thankful to God that the person who was responsible for the unfortunate incident has owned. He will, however, not be punish because it was not intentional.
“The government will surely give support, as the 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 in maintaining the facilities at the market.
“People shouldn’t resist payment of little rates to maintain the facilities because government can’t do it alone; we need your support,” Afuye said.
Speaking, Chairman of the traders’ association in the market, Alhaji Adamu Abdulhameed, said that the fire broke out around 4 p.m. from a generating set and spread to other adjoining shops, including a cold room.
“We tried our best to quench the fire. We were in the mosque when it started but it was beyond our control.
“The fire incident wouldn’t have been this severe if we had a fire service station within the market,” he said.
Similarly, the Iyaloja of the market, Mrs Feyisayo Ayajo, called for the establishment of a fire service station within the market for quick response to possible fire outbreaks. (NAN)