Traders who were affected by the fire incident in Ekiosa Market, Oredo Local Government Area have commended Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, for approving a relief grant that will alleviate the plight of victims.
The spokesperson for the traders, Mrs. Joy Okunbor, who led some traders to protest at the gate of the Oba of Benin, demanded transparency in the disbursement of the grant by the market leaders and applauded the governor for redeeming his promise.
According to her, “Our market leaders are not truthful. They came this morning to tell us that we are protesting against our governor; how can we protest against him when he has done well?
“He approved the immediate disbursement of the grant to us in Ekiosa Market after the fire incident. First and foremost, let me thank the ‘Wake and See Governor’ for keeping to his promise after he came to visit us during the fire incident.”
She noted after the governor released the grant, leaders in the market gave some traders N4,000 while others got N9,000, N20,000, N40,000, and N100,000, adding that persons who got N100,000 to N500,000 do not even own stores in the market.
Okunbor said the traders are protesting to inform the governor that the grant approved is being used for selfish interest by the market leaders.
Reacting to the allegation, the leader of the market women in the state, Mrs. Blacky Ogiamien, said that the grant was not given to her but to Trustfund Microfinance Bank, noting, “Three days ago, I heard they were protesting and I asked if this was the way the traders are going to pay the governor back for his kind gesture. The governor won’t be happy with the protest. I request we sit down and discuss this issue but they refused.
“We went to the bank and were told that they can’t pay at once. They told us they are paying in installments. Some of these protesters got their money, and are being influenced by the opposition. There is a political undertone that is why they are protesting. I was not given money. It is paid directly to the bank.”