Plans to relocate market
Peter Duru – Makurdi
Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue state has made an initial donation of the sum of N50million to victims of Otukpo’s main market fire disaster promising to avail them more assistance and support.
The market was gutted by fire early Monday morning with goods worth hundreds of millions of Naira burnt in over 315 shops and stalls.
Gov. Samuel Ortom who announced the donation shortly after inspecting the burnt section of the market said he would set up a special committee of selected members of his cabinet and the traders’ unions that would liaise with Otukpo local government council chairman to work out the modalities for the release and disbursement of the funds.
He said the gesture would enable the victims to overcome their initial shock pending the outcome of the report of an investigative panel constituted to probe the disaster.
He indicated that the government would take necessary steps to relocate the market to a conducive area adding “am aware that several attempts were made in the past to decongest the market but it was resisted.
“I want to say that when we try as a government to introduce policies that are harsh temporarily, you must appreciate that that’s the reason you elected us. We must as people work with the government to achieve results.
“I, therefore, persuade those who took the local government to court over the relocation of the market to withdraw the case. I am going to mandate some of my cabinet members to join the Otukpo local government council to work out ways to decongest the market. We must take some proactive steps to decongest the market.”
Earlier, chairman of Otukpo local government council, George Alli said the fire incident had brought untold hardship to the traders and appealed to the state government to assist in rebuilding the burnt shops and also provide other relief materials to them stressing that the value of the items lost to the inferno could not be quantified “but it runs into hundreds of millions of Naira.
“We are currently making plans to relocate the traders to a new site. We just secured a place and we are making plans to open it up such that fire trucks and other vehicles can pass through whenever there is an emergency.”