Following an early morning inferno that razed Gboko market and reduced it to rubbles, the Paramount ruler of the area has sought the intervention of both the federal and state government in constructing a new market for the town. HEMBADOON ORSAR reports
The recent fire outbreak at Gboko market in Benue state has been blamed on lack of modern fire service and fire fighting gadgets in the market, even as the Paramount traditional ruler of the community seeks the construction of a new market for the town. Though, no life was lost to the fire outbreak that gutted the popular Gboko market saw property worth several millions of naira lost to the incident. Undoubtedly, the unfortunate, but avoidable fire outbreak has brought untold hardships to several traders operating in the market. Lamenting the loss of lives and property to the inferno, the chairman, Benue State Council of Chiefs and Tor Tiv, Professor James Ayatse noted that the planning of the market was without the modern fire service and other fire prevention and mitigating gadgets. The Begha u Tiv who was on a sympathy visit to the victims of the fire outbreak called on the federal government to urgently intervene in constructing an ultramodern market in Gboko to make it a pride of Tiv commerce and trade in the North Central zone of the country.
The monarch promised to prevail on relevant authorities, including the federal and state government as well as critical stakeholders to decongest the market to avoid further fire occurrence. He lamented that the latest fire outbreak in Gboko market has deprived many traders of a means of livelihood. “I am pained by the hardship the affected traders are passing through, but with the hope that God will replenish them a hundred folds,” the monarch said. The chairman of Gboko Local Government, Mrs Becky Orpin commended the Tor Tiv for demonstrating passion and empathy towards the victims of the fire incident.
The council boss urged the monarch to use his royal influence to cause relevant authorities to decongest the Gboko market and provide facilities to curb further disaster at the market.
In their separate remarks, the Tor Jemngbagh, Chief David Afaityo and chairman, Gboko Market Traders Association, Pastor Matthew Amuche, appreciated the concern of the Tor Tiv his words of encouragement to those who lost their property to the inferno.
The Tor Tiv was accompanied on the visit by Tor Jechira, Chief Clement Uganden, Tor Kwande, Chief Ambrose Iortyer, Tor Gwer Chief Julius Aondona, Tor Lobi, Chief Moses Añageende as well as Ter Gboko, Chief Gabriel Gbanongon Shosom, Ter Buruku, Chief Moses Hanior. Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, had during a sympathy visit to the affected traders, directed the Bureau of Internal Affairs to hasten the establishment of fire service units in major towns of the state. Ortom said the measures becomes necessary to prevent fire incidents in the state, and advised traders’ unions to liaise with local government councils to sink boreholes around markets. “The Gboko fire market inferno l learned was caused by electricity upsurge; it would be investigated with a view to preventing future occurrences.
While advising the traders in the market to ensure that fire extinguishers are provided in their shops, the governor also urged them to henceforth get professionals to carry out the electrification of the market.
He announced government’s donation of N20 million to the victims to help mitigate the effect of the damage.
In her remarks, the Chairman of Gboko Local Government, Mrs. Becky Orpin expressed appreciation to Governor Ortom for his concerns for the plight of victims. She appealed for the installation of fire service facilities at the market. Earlier, chairman Gboko Main Market Traders Association, GBOMATA, Mr. Matthew Amauche had said that the fire incident was caused by electricity upsurge and thanked Governor Ortom for coming to provide succour for the victims. LEADERSHIP Sunday recalls that over 40 shops were penultimate Monday razed at the Gboko Main Market in Gboko local government area of Benue state.
The mysterious fire which was said to have started at about 4am, destroyed property worth several millions of naira. Christian Uchendu, a major businessman in Gboko town, said the inferno started from one of the shops which might have sparked as a result of an electrical fault.