RSG And Fruit Garden Market

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The cardinal responsibility of any government is to cater for the welfare and wellbeing of the people at all times, without let. This, the Rivers State Government under the watch of Governor Nyesom Wike has evidently demonstrated beyond measures.
Apart from creating the enabling environment for businesses to thrive and flourish in the State, the Wike administration has strived assiduously in ensuring that the State becomes a better place for all residents, particularly in the areas of infrastructural development and human capital development, among others.
Just recently, traders at the popular Fruit Garden Market in Port Harcourt were apparently at their wit’s end, courtesy of the mysterious fire that gutted the market and destroyed properties worth millions of naira, thereby throwing the victims out of business.
While empathising with the victims, Governor Wike, who swiftly rushed to the market in the wake of the unfortunate incident, promised to compensate the traders and also ensure that the burnt market was reconstructed.
True to his words and promise, the Governor, penultimate Saturday, visited the market again and personally handed out compensation grants to the traders to the tune of N145.2 million. While the permanent shop owners got N400,000 each, the squatters were compensated with N300,000 each.
Besides the compensation in monetary terms, the state government went further to perform the ground-breaking ceremony for the reconstruction of the market, and demonstrated a firm commitment to complete the project in record time, by paying 60 percent upfront of the contract value. Wike, indeed, gave the constructing firm handling the project a marching order to complete it within three months of the commencement of the project.
Laudable as the government’s gesture is, The Tide is particularly gladdened by the quick response and timely intervention of the Governor to the plight of the victims of the fire disaster.
It is quite heart-warming that the government through the gesture, was able to put smiles on the faces of the traders once more, but it is expected that the beneficiaries would do the needful by utilising the grants for the purpose they were given, instead of spending same on frivolities.
It is also necessary for traders across the state to guard against future occurrences by being precautious and security conscious at all times, so as to avert unnecessary tragedies in our markets. It is unfortunate that frequent fire incidents, especially in major markets within the Port Harcourt metropolis and its environs, have been a recurring decimal.
On the other hand, there is the need for the contractor handling the reconstruction project at the Fruit Garden Market to ensure early completion of the project as directed by the Governor. We believe that adhering to the timeline would go a long way in not only providing the victims the much-needed cushion and succour, but also restoring and reinforcing their confidence in government.
While we appreciate the government’s gesture in this regard, we also expect that the real owners of shops in the market as well as other victims of the fire disaster would eventually be the first beneficiaries of the administration’s bold initiative. It would, indeed, be unfortunate if at the end of the day, when the market is commissioned, some privileged individuals hijack the process of allocating stalls and shops in the market.
We are, however, consoled by the sheer fact that the Governor had given a firm promise that the traders would not be short-changed in the allocation process.
Indeed, the fact that the government did not release the compensation grants to the traders through third parties is an ample proof that the present administration is committed to rehabilitating victims of the inferno.
Against this backdrop, we, therefore, once more thank the Governor for his large heartedness and also for his administration’s responsiveness to the yearnings and aspirations of Rivers people.