Forty-four persons whose shops and goods at the Minna Kure Ultra Modern Market were in January last year gutted by fire on Friday smiled to their banks as Niger State Government dolled out N47 million in aid for the losses they incurred.
A section of the market had gone up in flames in January 2016 destroying market goods worth several millions of naira.
Governor Abubakar Sani Bello was on hand on Friday afternoon to deliver what he called government’s token in assistance to mitigate the losses suffered but not a compensation for what were lost in the market fire incidence.
The Governor explained that the assistance was the state government’s response to cushion the sufferings and hardship brought about by the incidence to the victims and owners of the shops affected.
While reiterating his administration’s commitment to remain responsive to issues that affects the citizens in the state, he lamented the frequencies in fire outbreaks in parts of the state and said the state government had taken measures to avert fire incidences at the Minna central market.
Part of the measures according to the Governor was the procurement of a new central generating power plant to supply power to all the shops in the market.
The aim is to stop individual shop owners at the market from bringing all sorts of power generators into the market to light up the shops with the attendant risk of possible conflagration at any given time during use.
He disclosed further that the state government would deploy a new fire engine dedicated for the Fire Service unit in the market to fight fire incidences when and where they occur within the market.
He said state government was worried about the incidences of fire in the state in recent times and urged market shop owners to be more careful and diligent.
The Governor who spoke about the cost of food stuff in the market, lamented the arbitrary hike in the prices of foodstuff especially during festive seasons of Christmas, the Ramadan fast and Eid el Fitr and the Eid el Kabir celebrations when prices of foodstuff shoots up by about 40%
He decried the practice by sellers of foodstuffs and other goods in the market and said the state government was studying the possibility of having a parley with the leadership of the market unions on how to check spiral rise in the prices of foodstuff and other goods.
He urged the sellers of foodstuffs and other goods to be God fearing and reasonable in fixing prices of goods.
Among those who benefitted from the government’s assistance was a shop owner who received N15 million as relief assistance for his losses. Others received assistance from N5 million to N1 million with some others receiving hundreds of thousands of naira in aid as relief for their goods lost in the fire incidence.
On the 3rd of January last year, part of the market was gutted by fire where goods worth several millions of naira were destroyed.