Obaseki closes Santana market, to support traders for relocation

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…to set new guidelines for operation of open markets

The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has ordered the closure of Santana Market in the Sapele Road axis of Benin City, citing the lack of basic amenities for proper operations of an open market in the vicinity.

The governor gave the order during the Weekly State Executive Council (EXCO) meeting, stating that new guidelines for the operations of open markets in the state would soon be made public.

Speaking after the EXCO meeting on Thursday, Special Adviser to the Governor on Media and Communication Strategy, Mr. Crusoe Osagie, said the state government closed the market because the location was not suitable for a market of such size.

He said the state government and Ikpoba Okha Local Government Area would assist the first set of traders who show interest in relocating to nearby vacant markets in the area, noting, “With the closure of the market, traders are enjoined to liaise with the local government area for relocation to vacant nearby markets on the axis, one of which is at Dumez Road while the other one is further down Sapele Road.

“We have a package that would ease the relocation of the affected traders, particularly the first set of traders to move. The state government would offer them N50,000 each while Ikpoba Okha LGA would give them N10,000 each to ease their relocation and help them settle at the markets.”

The governor’s aide said some of the reasons for the closure of the market include unavailability of basic amenities such as parking space, functional toilets, potable running water, provisions for relevant facilities to support emergency response, and the spilling of the market to the road, which causes traffic gridlock.

“A market of that size is deficient in a number of ways, some of which make it unable to run smoothly in the vicinity. There is no parking space neither is there provision for facilities for emergencies. Sanitary facilities are also lacking. These are basic amenities that are necessary for proper functioning of a market,” he said.

He explained that the state government is finalising a document in collaboration with local government councils that spells out the minimum requirements for operations of open markets across the state which would ensure a pleasurable experience for traders and their customers, and forestall disruptions and disasters.