Goods and property worth millions were on Saturday lost to a fire incident at the Orita-Aperin Market, Ibadan.
The incident is coming weeks after a tanker fire burnt cars and people around the Onipepeye Bridge of the Lagos-Ibadan expressway.
The cause of the Orita-Aperin market fire, which was said to have broken out on Friday midnight, was still unknown as at the time of filing this report.
Speaking on the incident, the Babaloja of Orita-Aperin market, Abiodun Hammed said: “The fire started by 12 midnight on Friday, and we immediately called on Oyo State Fire Service but unfortunately, when they got here, the nozzle of their truck was not functioning
“So, we had to resolve to self -help by putting out the fire ourselves, or else, the lost would have been more than that”.
The Babaloja added that most of the owners of the affected shops just bought their goods , adding that this was what makes the total value of the goods affected by the fire to be much.
“The shops that were affected include shop of a jeweries seller, shop of a food ingredient seller, shop of a provisions seller, red oil seller and herbs seller among others.
“N5,600,000 was the worth of jewelry that got burnt and most of the goods affected in the shops of the herbs seller cannot be replaced because they were ancient goods that cannot be seen on the market again,” he lamented.
He, however, appealed to the Oyo State government to come to their aid because the loss was too much for the victim to bear.
One of the victims, whose shops were also affected by the fire, Latifat Adegbola, appealed to the Oyo State government to assist them financially because the money they used to buy the affected goods was collected as a loan with interest.
Adegbola said “All my goods have been consumed by fire and the remaining ones are useless. We are calling on the state government to come to our aid so that we can survive.”
A pepper and onion seller, Mariam Oladepo, who said she lost goods worth N100,000 to the inferno lamented that her shop has been razed with nothing left for her and her children to feed on.
The market women however alleged that the fire would not have gone to that extent if the Oyo State Fire Service truck that was deployed to the scene of the incident had functioned properly.
But in a swift commiseration with the victims, Oyo state Governor Seyi Makinde although described the incident as sad, vowed to find out the cause.
In a statement by his media aide, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, Makinde lamented that the incident happened in the dead of the night when many of the shops’ owners were fast asleep, adding that the incident is happening at a time he is looking at expanding the state’s economy in the people’s interest.
He said: “Let me assure market leaders, market men, and women, especially those affected by the Aperin fire incident to rest assured that the government of Oyo state will not abandon them to their fate at this time.
“We will not only unravel the cause of the fire but will also ensure that we do what is within our powers to support the victims of the incident.”
Nigerians Call For More Women In Governance, Say It Will Reduce Corruption
Exasperated by rising corruption in Africa’s most populous country, stakeholders in the fight against corruption in Nigeria have identified adequate inclusion of women in governance as an antidote to public sector corruption while lamenting the government’s effort in implementing the revised National Gender Policy (NGP).
The call for the inclusion of more women in governance had been necessitated by the low representation of women in Nigeria’s governance structures.
Human rights lawyer Mary Musa led the call during PUBLIC CONSCIENCE, an anti-corruption radio programme produced by the Progressive Impact Organization for Community Development, PRIMORG, Wednesday in Abuja.
Speaking during the programme, Musa stated that Nigeria would be heading in the better direction if more women are deliberately handed opportunities in political leadership and public service as they embody the values, character and integrity, which is needed in building a corrupt-free nation.
She noted that Nigerian women are prudent and have been equipped to instill prudence, character and integrity in the mind of their children and can replicate these virtues in leadership positions.
“If we (government) put more women who are prudent in the government spaces, political spaces, corruption will reduce drastically because they are coming with values, character and integrity. We are not saying take any woman because she is a woman, we are saying take women who know what it means to be in political offices.
“If we select those women knowing they are influencers in their spaces doing fantastic and credible jobs with excellent value systems, Nigeria is headed for a better place.
“We have credible women, but they face barriers like sexual harassment at workplaces. Even in politics, we have a lot of women going into politics, but there are god-fathers who want to take advantage of the young women coming into politics. It’s beyond being credible and competent. It’s about creating an enabling environment for the woman to thrive,” Musa stressed.
On the government’s lacklustre approach on implementing the revised National Gender Policy, she revealed that the most effective tool in persuading the Federal Government to implement the policy remains sensitization, advocacy and peaceful protest.
Musa also regretted that implementation of the National Gender Policy is stifled by a lack of political will and urged the government to enforce the policy and place punitive measures on public offices that fail to align with the provisions of the revised NGP.
On her part, Communications Manager Mujidat Agbabiaka backed Nigerian women to do well if given more opportunities in leadership, emphasizing that women have what it takes to participate in leadership and make the country better. She added that women must be encouraged and empowered to take charge of administration because of their discipline and integrity.
Agbabiaka said, “We’ve seen women out there doing well in their leadership capacity and their homes are not broken. They still perform their maternal roles. They still take care of their families, their husband and children, immediate and extended families.”
Ahead of the 2023 general elections, she advised women not to sell their votes to politicians, urging them rather to study the manifestos of political parties and candidates in order to make informed decisions.
“We know the roles the politicians play in impoverishing the women further by giving them seasoning cubes and wrappers as if those things matter in politics and electioneering. We have said that these things are wrong and women should desist from accepting gifts but rather look inward into candidates and see what they are offering based on their manifestos.”
Some Nigerians who phoned into the programme from Abuja, the nation’s capital, alluded that Nigeria would be better governed and less corrupt if women were given more leadership opportunities owing to their antecedents from the home front.
PRIMORG and the Women’s Rights Advancement & Protection Alternative (WRAPA) are collaborating to promote the revised gender policy of the Federal Government for more opportunities for women in Nigeria.
Public Conscience is a syndicated weekly anti-corruption radio program used by PRIMORG to draw government and citizens’ attention to corruption and integrity issues in Nigeria.
The program has the support of the MacArthur Foundation
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