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Obaseki Accuses Politicians Of Burning Down Benin Markets

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………. Approves N100m as compensation to Ekiosa Market inferno victims.

By Idris Ahmed, Edo

The Edo State Government has accused some politicians under the aegis of the disbanded Edo Peoples Movement (EPM) of sponsoring arsonists, to sabotage markets in Benin metropolis and the state government.

The State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, disclosed when he led members of the state executive council to inspect the extent of damage at Osa market (Ekiosa) and the Edo Development Property Agency (EDPA) after the inferno of Sunday, December 22, and blamed unscrupulous politicians whose sole agenda is to sabotage his government.

He said that the initamnt was not an accident, but the handiwork of arsonists out to sabotage markets and discredit government.

The governor,! therefore approved the release of N100 million to compensate traders whose goods were destroyed in the fire incident, described the situation as very unfortunate that different markets in the state have been gutted by fire within a short period.

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a development he attributed to the antics of the enemies of the state.

Obaseki revealed that intelligence reports indicated that some people who are disgruntled over his reforms and programmes targeted at improving the welfare of the people, were behind the recent inferno in the markets.

He decried the new dimension of the fire incidents in the state, where these suspected arsonists, prevented firefighters from gaining access to markets being gutted by fire.

The governor said the fire incidents were politically motivated by the disgruntled politicians, who had vowed to make the state ungovernable for him.

“They say they want to shame us; they tried other tricks, but did not succeed. They say they will cause havoc during this Yuletide, but their plans will fail.

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“You cannot tell me that the fire on the 6th floor of the EDPA building was an accident. It is a clear case of arson. We had passed the market to Edo Central Senatorial District. We got to hear about the fire at about 10 itam. The Fire Department was sent in from the University of Benin (UNIBEN), but the people attacked them

“Last week, when a similar incident occurred, fire fighters came in to quell the fire in Oliha market and the people chased them. There is a pattern to what they are doing.

“They should try whatever they like, but we will continue to work for the people of the state; they cannot remove us from Edo,” he said.

He asked the market women association to submit a list of traders whose goods were burnt in the market so that they could be compensated, adding, “The traders should come up with a list so we can assist you to start again. The money will be given to you through Sterling Bank.”

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The governor said the market would be rebuilt from early 2020, while a section of it would be cleared for the traders to use as a temporary arrangement.

He added that the state government has decided to take over the security of markets from local councils and would work with market associations to secure markets, noting that markets without fire extinguishers and borehole would be shutdown.

Edo state Commissioner of Police, Mr Lawan Jimeta, has promised to deploy his men to ensure the success of the security arrangement by providing the needed personnel and strategies.

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