From Aloysius Attah, Onitsha
Traders at the Building Materials International Market, Ogidi, Anambra State recently doled out over N8 million to assist victims of fire disaster in the market.
The eve of March 13 2020 was a day of sorrow for some of the traders, as a truck fully loaded with goods at the market park suddenly caught fire. By the time the dust settled, despite serious efforts by fire fighters and brave individuals, 15 shops filled with goods were razed. The affected traders and shop owners lost millions of naira to the fire and have been struggling to pick up again after the tragedy.
Conscious of the economic implications of the incident on the affected traders, the leadership of the market, headed by Chief Jude Nwankwo (Ezeudo) decided to mitigate the effects of the losses on the traumatized traders.
The central executives of the market constituted a committee led by the Vice President, Cyril Ugwuja to encourage the traders to give financial donations to the affected traders.
The committee went to work and succeeded in raising overN8 million. The records of the victims were taken. They were subsequently invited for a public presentation of cash amounts where each of the affected individuals received a sum of N500, 000.
President General of the market, Chief Jude Nwankwo said though the incident happened in March before the COVID-19 lockdown, assistance to the affected traders came in November, a sign that God of the eleventh hour had come to help them.
Recalling the fire disaster incident, Nwankwo said he was moved to tears when he saw the extent of damage caused by the fire but noted that the incident was also a sign that God is the ultimate keeper.
He said the market under his leadership introduced various security measures while the governor, Chief Willie Obiano donated a standby fire fighting truck stationed in the market. He regretted that the fire still wreaked havoc in spite of the safety efforts.
While praying that the money given to the victims would be a seed that would yield millions, Nwankwo thanked the traders for their love, support and prayers for the executives, which he said had been yielding good fruits.
“God acts when the doctors and herbalists have exhausted all their powers. He is the one who made it possible for you to be remembered this time. We decided to do this so as to help the victims stand on their feet again. Our leadership has shown a high level of transparency and commitment to duty and that is why I’m proud of my executives.
“By the grace of God, we have built shops and shared it. We bought an estate and also shared it accordingly without short-changing anyone. We called on you to raise money to assist these victims and you responded accordingly. The committee did a good job and there was no discrimination of any sort in selecting the beneficiaries,” he said.
Chairman, Board of Trustees of the market, Sir Mark Aguiyi told the beneficiaries that the assistance given to them was a product of responsive leadership. He told them to use the money judiciously. He warned those that might be planning to cause a fire in the market so that they could be compensated too to stop harbouring such thoughts.
Chairman of Board of Patrons, Chief Silas Ejeabocha in his own submission urged the beneficiaries to invest the money wisely.
Expressing appreciation for the kind gesture extended to them, one of the beneficiaries, Helen Ilojiuba thanked the market leaders for giving them another lifeline.