ASMATA gifts #1 million to Nkpor Market Fire Victims

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.. Advise relocation of street traders, dealers on inflammable goods

By Uzo Ugwunze

The Anambra State Markets Amalgamated Traders Association (ASMATA) has presented a cheque of one million naira (#1m) to the victims of fire disaster at Nkpor Main market, Idemili North Local Government Area.

Presenting the bank draft/cheque the Pesident General, to the market chairman, Chief Paul Okafor and other fire victims the ASMATA President , Chief Humphrey Anuna urged the traders affected to take heart saying that measures should be put in place to check future occurrence.

Anuna said that he was touched by the extent of the damages done by the inferno which prompted him to present that amount of money derived from the ASMATA welfare purse to the victims to enable them start afresh from somewhere as their shops and goods were gutted by fire.

He urged them to always believe in God in whatever thing they do adding that Governor Charles Soludo was also touched by the damages they incured as a result of the inferno stressing that they should always be mindful of fire outbreaks especially in the markets and home at this harmattan period.

The ASMATA PG however reiterated his intention to better the welfare of the traders in line with his manifesto when he ascended office as the PG urging the traders to support governor Soludo in his efforts to take the state to the promised land.

He further stressed the need to create motorable roads in the market and relocate the petty traders who cluster the front of the Nkpor market with wares thereby making it almost impossible for prospective customers who would have wanted to stop by and buy things from the market unable to find parking space for their vehicles.

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Anuna also said that plans were ongoing to relocate traders who deal on inflammable chemicals and goods from inside every Anambra market but rather build well secured shops outside the main line as a means of forestalling future occurrences.

In his response, the chairman of the market, Chief Ugochimereze Paul Okafor who was also a victim of the inferno expressed satisfaction that the ASMATA PG came to the rescue of the victims and disclosed that 29 shops were affecteded.

According to him, “Goods worth over 70 million naira were damaged in the inferno that started about 1am on the 20th of December, 2023.

“When I was called to the scene, we put up efforts to quench the inferno reportedly caused by power surge that sparked off light from the cold room in the market and extended to a nearby shop laden with carbides.

“We thank God that eventually we stopped the ravaging inferno without the assistance of fire service or fighting personnel as they were not within reach as at the time of the inferno,” Okafor said.

He however, commended the ASMATA PG for donating one million naira to the victims adding that more people are being expected to come to the rescue of the victims.

“We commend the President General of ASMATA for presenting one million naira to us, the victims, and this is the second time he is coming. He came the very first time this fire incident started and promised to come back which he is here today with his executive members and presented this one million naira. We expect others who came earlier and promised to come back to do so as the victims need their assistance either in kind or in cash. Some of these fire victims had been forced to go back to their respective towns because they don’t have money to re establish or start afresh.

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A fire victim at Nkpor Main market,Mr Felix Njom who lost both all his goods, money and wife within same period

“I commend the ASMATA PG, he is really a father and I also commend Governor Soludo for appointing him the PG of ASMATA. With this money and others that will be giving to the victims, there is hope of re-establishment by the fire victims,” he assured.

Another trader heavily affected by the inferno was Mr Felix Njom of Shop No D1/14 said that he had double tragedy.”I am still in shock. I lost over 9 million naira worth of goods and cash to the fire disaster on 20th December 2023 and on 28th December I lost my dear wife that stays together with me in this shop. I thank ASMATA PG for the money he brought and I also call on other people including State government to please help and assist us financially”.

Also contributing, the line chairman where the 29 shops were located, Mr. Sunday Epundu, and the Nkpor Market Secretary General, Mr. Chinedu Odunukwe commended the ASMATA PG for presenting one million naira to the victims and urged other good spirited individuals/groups to come to the rescue of the traders some of who according to him have been sent packing back to their different communities because of the fire disaster.

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“We thank God that the fire did not extend to the entire market because of the efforts put in place by traders and sympathisers who rushed to the scene on the fateul day. We made frantic efforts to ensure that we quench the inferno and God being on our side we were able to quench the fire without the assistance of the fire fighting personnel. It is God that did it if not the fire would have extended to the entire market.

“We commend the ASMATA PG and his team for remembering us and also call on members of the state House of Assembly and other good spirited individuals/groups to come to the rescue of the fire victims,” they pleaded.

Earlier in his speech, the chairman of Idemili zone, Chief Emmanuel Obiagwu expressed satisfaction with the efforts made by the traders on the day of the incident disclosing that ASMATA felt that the market is part and parcel of ASMATA and that is what prompted them to be physically present to sympathise with them on the fire incident.

“We felt we were touched and through our PG, we decided to present this money to help you, the victims, to start afresh as all your wares were burnt to ashes. So take heart and with the little money you get, it will enable you to start afresh as such is life,” he said

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