Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State
The Benue Government has donated N30 million to the victims of the fire that gutted some sections of Wadata Market, Makurdi, the state capital, early Wednesday morning.
Governor Samuel Ortom who announced the donation when he inspected the burnt section of the market on Wednesday said the amount was an interim support to the traders.
Our correspondent gathered that the fire which started around 2am raised many shops in the fish, yams, butchers, grain as well as industrial and allied material sections of the market.
Mr Ortom sympathized with the traders and assured the traders that government would assist them in every way possible.
He said the gesture was to enable them to start life, pending the outcome of the report of a committee he had constituted to inquire into the incident.
The governor said the committee would be headed by the Secretary to the State Government, Barr. Tony Ijoh, SAN.
He explained that the committee would find out the remote and immediate cause(s) of the fire and the challenges in the market and recommend how government could address them.
Mr Ortom recounted the damage caused by fire at the Gboko Market on two different occasions recently, and said government was considering ways of addressing the situation.
He directed that boreholes be dug in the market and urged security agencies to adequately guard the place until normalcy returned.
Earlier, the Vice President, Makurdi Traders’ Union, Yusuf Abdulahi, said the fire victims were mainly petty traders whose entire livelihood depended on their daily incomes from the market.
Mr Abdulahi further urged the state government to assist the traders in rebuilding their shops and providing other relief materials to them.
He said that statistics on the affected sections and the value of wares lost could not be established immediately, adding that the union had commenced collection of the data.
He also disclosed that five sections – fish, yams, butchers, grain, industrial and allied materials – were burnt.
Military fire officers from the 72 Battalion, Nigeria Army, Makurdi, were on hand to assist in putting off the fire at the time filing the story.