The fire finished us, say plank merchants
TRADERS at the burnt Ketu Plank Market in Lagos are facing hard times. Some of the traders say they have become poor and are now living from hand to month.
They told The Nation Shopping that many of them have returned to their villages because the “suffering is too much.”
To alleviate the traders’ suffering, the Ifelodun Plank Market Committee is urging the government to hasten up its plan to rebuild the market.
Its chairman, Alhaji Aliu Bello said the government had been given the total cost of goods burnt, adding: “we were told to follow some procedures before the government can fulfil promise to renovate the market.”
The procedures are filling a registration form with their photographs attached; presentation of photographs of lost properties and an estimate of lost properties.
Alhaji Musa Akinbo, who is also a member of the committee, said after the fire incident, accommodation and financial constraints has been the major problem they are facing. “Traders no longer have places to stay,” he said
Mr Olagoke Akala, one of the displaced said: “We have become enemies to our families because we can no longer meet their needs the way we used to. Most of us now live in poverty and some of us have returned to the village.”
“We are hungry, men have suddenly become women in their own houses because they can no longer live up to their responsibilities, those that refuse to become women in their houses, resolved to returning to their villages and others chose street trading as an alternative.
“People who patronise the market are waiting for the renovation as well. Many of them check to see if the market has come back to life.”
Mrs Olajumoke Odetoye, a building materials seller, said she believes the crisis will definitely come to an end. She said she used to own a big shop, but she now uses a small table to display her wares because there is no space and money. “We thank God for our lives. Thousands of us are victims of the fire and the market executives are really helping us. They are trying to provide alternatives for us in the little way they can.”
Mr Saliu Sanusi is an old man who said he has been managing after the fire incident and that he used to buy in bulk, but he now buys in small quantity and the initial capital which he used in starting the business was a loan and till now, he has not been able to pay back. “I used to buy in bulk before but now I have turned to somebody that buys in small quantity. I am now using a small shop and using N10,000 to transact business. I am still on loan, I haven’t paid back. The government should help, so that everything can be balanced.”
The chairman of the committee, Alhaji Aliu Bello praised the Lagos State government for supporting the market so far and pleaded that promises made to renovate their market be effected as soon as possible.”