TRADING activities at the Shasha market, Ibadan, picked up on Wednesday following Tuesday’s order by Governor Seyi Makinde that the market be reopened.
Though the market was not clogged as usual, there was the typical offloading of trucks of tomatoes, pepper, onions and its subsequent sale to wholesalers and retailers.
While those with plank space sold their well-arranged bags of tomatoes, pepper, onions, those with burnt shops, without plank space, were seen in clusters sulking over their losses in the Shasha crisis.
The deep desire for the quick reopening of the market was visible, when Nigerian Tribune visited, as the traders showed briskness in beckoning on almost every passerby to patronise them.
While business went on in the middle of the market, shop owners and some hired labourers were seen in some burnt shops leveling, gathering and clearing debris of burnt goods.
Some who came to purchase goods said there were few porters than normal, noting that they had to pay extra or themselves carry their goods on their heads for loading into vehicles.
There was appreciable security presence outside and around the market with security personnel also seen patrolling inside the market.
Meanwhile, traders have said the typical boisterous nature of trading activities at Shasha will only return if the state government enforces a closure of Iroko market.
They held that some of their fellow traders which had relocated were still trading at Iroko.
They also urged Governor Seyi Makinde to fulfill his promise to get bulldozer to clear the debris generated due to the violence, fix solar light and ensure constant security presence at the market. Various traders also prayed that the governor fulfills his promise to rebuild the market.
A pepper seller, Yusuf Mohammed described the Shasha market as a prosperous one, noting that within 24 hours, buying and selling were gradually returning to normal. Mohammed described as interesting the fact that the cost of commodities had currently dropped compared to the prices before the crisis.
Mohammed said, “Within 24 hours of the reopening of this market, things are returning to normal. The incident was unfortunate as lives and properties were lost.
“In fact, the cost of goods is now lower than they were before the crisis. A bag of pepper is now sold for N9,000 but before the crisis, it went for N15,000.
“The Northern governors provided trailers of rice and shared money, through the Seriki Shasha.
“The fact that both Yoruba and Hausa people shared from the same items brought by the Northern governors shows that peaceful coexistence has returned.”
A tomato seller, Abdullahi Oladejo expressed surprise at the high number of people that trooped into the market just after it was reopened. He also decried the emergence of another market at Iroko, urging all that left Shasha for Iroko to return.
Oladejo said, “Trading activities are returning to normal but we thank God. When we opened for sales this morning, we were surprised that we will have a lot of people trooping into the market. Tomatoes, pepper, onion are coming in. We never knew the crisis will go out of hand.
“Some people that wanted to leave the market caused the crisis. They have gone to set up another market at Iroko. They started the market the same day that the Shasha market was being destroyed. We hand them over to God and we don’t quarrel with anyone.
“We thank the Baale Shasha and Seriki Shasha for being fair to all ethnic groups in their judgment. They have kept this market. Things really were destroyed. This seller of recharge cards had two shops which were burnt but she now goes about hawking the cards. An onions seller, Akeem Rasaq urged the state government to consider the need to rebuild the market and fulfill its various promises as a matter of emergency.
Rasaq said, “Trading activities have resumed and we ask that people troop in. There is no war here anymore. The Baale of Shasha and Governor Seyi Makinde played huge role to restore calm here. We only urge Governor Seyi Makinde to fulfill his various promises to us regarding this market.
“We want him to fulfill his promises to ensure constant security surveillance, fix solar light and get bulldozer to clear this place. We need constant security surveillance so as to keep our mind our rest.
“We also pray that the governor fulfills his promise to rebuild the market. When it rains now, there is no shelter as we have to use nylon to cover our goods and run into the mosque.” Noting the loss of shops and houses, a porter, Yusuf Isiaka also sought government assistance. He also asked the state government to compel those traders that left for Iroko to return.
Isiaka said, “We need government’s assistance. Our shops and houses were burnt and we now have nothing. We virtually go around during daytime with night dress and casuals.
“Since we are homeless, we only sleep around. We couldn’t pick anything from the house before it was burnt. I’m working as a porter with the same dress.
“I am an orphan and have only God to rely upon There is nowhere to go to make our daily bread except Shasha. We want government to compel those at Iroko to return.
“If they all return, there will be rapid return of things to normal in this market. We want an expansion of the market so that people can have adequate space to display and sell their goods.”
Both Ajoke Oyegbile and Kusenatu Kafari, who are traders, were unanimous in demanding that the state government force those traders that went to form Iroko market to return to Shasha market. A seller of used wares, Oyinkansola Akinlami said while those selling perishable items had begun business, those selling other items had nowhere to display their items because their shops had been burnt. Pointing to the loss of millions of naira, she noted that several shop owners were presently idle thinking of ways to pick up again. She pleaded for assistance of the federal government, Oyo state government and well meaning individuals for them restart their various businesses.
“Things have not returned to normal. Only a few traders have returned to the market. Those of us whose shops and goods were burnt do not have anything to sell presently. “We are only sitting here idle. We beg the federal, state government and individuals to help us so that hunger does not kill us. There is no market woman not affected by the disaster.
“We thank the governor for reopening Shasha market but what is being offloaded presently is tomatoes but those of us selling other things have no shops to sell.
“We are yet to get any money said to be distributed. Goods worth N3 million were burnt in my shop. We urge government to help us so that we don’t take to begging for alms.”
Like Akinlami, a porter, Kazeem Alabere said traders were still sulking from the losses suffered in the Shasha mayhem. Kazeem said, “Things have not returned to normal but there is blessing for all who trade here. Crisis is a sad thing and we don’t pray for a recurrence. We all ran helter-skelter that day. Peaceful coexistence is good and we don’t want war anywhere in Nigeria.”
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