Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City
The ever busy Uselu/Ugbowo section of the Benin-Lagos expressway was on Monday shut down as market women from Uselu protested the plan to force them to move into the lock-up stalls built by the Egor Local Government Area of Edo.
The protesting women who were armed with various placards and market tools, blocked the two sides of the highway, thereby preventing motorists from coming or going out of Benin.
Some of the women who spoke with journalists, said the demand for N1.2m per store by the local government authority was too expensive for them, especially with the type of business most of them does.
The women said their problem was compounded the more when the authority of the Egor council started destroying the make-shift stores they have been using for years in the market.
According to one of the women, Mrs Celina Okon, the council’s action was an act of wickedness, especially in view of the present economic situation in the country.
“What am I selling that you will force me to pay over a million naira for a singly store? I believe they should be interested in the worth of our businesses as a single individual.
“Where do you expect a woman who sells only crayfish or tomatoes to get such a ridiculous amount of money to pay when in actual fact, most are in dire need of additional fund to grow their businesses,” she said.
Another woman, Mrs Imade Osifo, who described their situation as pathetic, said their decision to barricade the highway was for the world to know what they are going through.