Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State has directed the immediate rebuilding of the 72 shops at the Kenyatta Timber Market, Enugu, which were razed down by fire over the weekend.
Speaking when he visited the market for the second time in company of his deputy, Mrs. Cecilia Ezeilo, the commissioner for works and infrastructure, Engr. Greg Nnaji, the Executive Secretary of the State Emergency Management Agency, Mrs. Nkechi Eneh, among others, Gov. Ugwuanyi also promised to assist owners of the shops with the sum of N7.2 million to enable them restart their businesses.
The governor, who sympathized with traders over the “unfortunate” incident, said that he had to end the meeting of the State Executive Council (EXCO), when he received the news of the fire outbreak to visit the site and ensure that adequate intervention was made to put off the inferno.
Directing that work should commence “now”, after approving and releasing the N14.68 million budget estimate presented by the Chairman of the Kenyatta Timber Dealers Association, Mr. Levi Obi on behalf of the affected traders for the rebuilding of the 72 shops, Gov. Ugwuanyi declared: “I am here to wipe away your tears”.
He reassured the affected traders that his administration will do everything possible to ensure that they remain in business, saying: “When I first visited here on the night this unfortunate incident occurred, I was touched when one of the affected traders told me that he was going back to the village. But I told him ‘you will not go back to your village because of this challenge’’’.
While praying that such incident does not happen again, Gov. Ugwuanyi also wished the traders a bountiful success in their new investment.
Earlier in his remark, the Timber Dealers Association chairman, Mr. Obi on behalf of the traders thanked Gov. Ugwuanyi for his prompt intervention and constant visits to the market since the incident in spite of his tight schedule, especially the night when the fire outbreak occurred.
Mr. Obi described Ugwuanyi as “responsive and a governor for the poor and everybody”, adding that the traders were overwhelmed with joy despite the challenges they were confronted with when they saw the governor at the site of the inferno the night it occurred.
He also commended the governor for development projects his administration has executed within the area, such as the Ndemde Bridge that links the timber market and Achara Layout, Enugu as well as the Lomalinda-Timber Market road, adding that 24 traders in the market have so far benefitted from the state’s Traders Empowerment Scheme.
Regretting that the incident was caused by the power surge, Mr. Obi called on the Enugu Electrical Distribution Company (EEDC) to provide a dedicated transformer for the market to enable the traders take precautionary measures at the close of work.
He urged the traders to ensure that they register with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to obtain their Permanent Voters’ Cards to reciprocate the governor’s kind gesture by returning him to power in 2019.
Also speaking, the Executive Chairman of Enugu South Local Government Area, Hon. Sunday Ugwu, while welcoming the governor to the market commended him for his timely intervention, saying that “the governor has not slept since this fire incident happened”.