Tony Osauzo, Benin
For fear of being struck by the dreaded ayelala juju deity, looters of goods at the burnt Ekiosa market in Benin are said to be returning their stolen wares to the market.
Ekiosa market was razed on Monday, resulting in the loss of goods worth millions of naira, even as looters had a field day in the ensuing confusion that trailed the fire incident.
It was learnt that the suspected looters started returning the stolen goods from the market shortly after voodoo priests of the ayelala deity were invited by the leadership of the market to invoke deadly curse on those behind the cause of the fire incident.
Edo State Market Women Association President, Mrs Blacky Ogiamien, disclosed this when a delegation of the Oba of Benin, Ewuare II, paid a sympathy visit to the market.
She said several items ranging from bags of rice, roll of wrappers, cartons and gallons of vegetable oil, goats and other goods have been dumped at different parts of the market square.
She explained that invitation of the juju priests was due to similar incidents at Satana, Oliha and Uwelu spear parts markets which have left many families in pains, insisting that if something was not done, more markets could be affected in the state.
“They have started returning our stolen goods as we invited ayelala people to curse those behind the series of pains being inflicted on market women and other traders in the state.
Those who are putting fire on our markets in the state and those using the opportunity to steal our goods would no longer be free this time,” Ogiamien said.
One of the affected traders, whose goods were returned, Mr. Gentle Imuetinyan Usoh, said the invitation of juju priests was appreciable, expressing hope that more of their stolen goods would be recovered in no distance time.
“Since ayelala was called into this market fire incident early today, we have started getting back some of our stolen goods.
“Many of my goods which I thought were burnt by the fire have been brought to the side of the market today. I still believe our other goods would be fully recovered,” he said.
Some goods returned included goats, bags of rice, including money and television sets.