It was on Thursday morning (3/2/2022), when the news of a ghastly accident spread out in Ogborhill Aba my area. That a truck conveying a 40ft Container loaded with imported goods, failed a break and dashed into the Waterside Market.
That was a very bad news because at that moment the market was full, people from all around Aba usually come to buy meat from the market abattoir as there is the major meat market in Aba. But fortunately the truck passed the first entrance of the abattoir, headed to the second entrance where there are lineups of shops.
Aba residents have a very bad trait - trading close to the road whether express road or street they don't care. Were they trading far from the road, if such incidents occur, it won't be a heartbreaking one. But my Aba people are stiff-necked people, each time the government drove them away from the roadside, within few days, they'll come forward again.
On that fateful day, the truck smashed three (3) Tricycles along the road, killing both passengers and drivers. It dashed its way hitting those shops close to the road and smashed some shop owners, destroying as many shops and goods until it fell inside a ditch in the market then stopped.
The shouts and cries from the area thunders like a bombshell. Like sounds of alarm from a Siren Van. Visualize the market women selling Okoro, ice fish, vegetables and all worth not, as those women ran helter skelter from within the market.
The Road safety managers arrived the scene, Police officers too were there, in fact let tell us here that those Police officers usually block that point checking and collecting some things from Tricycle drivers as well as from other transport motorists. You can understand the Nigerian system. So those uniform officers together with every touching hearts helped to bring out the victims who sustained injuries and those dead.
We heard that it has been long that the government wants to evacuate the market out of the area especially the abattoir market. The marketers have been warned to move to another location, another smaller market down the waterside river. But that decision has often been politicized. Well not this time again because government immediately sworn into action the next day, giving announcement that all traders should vacate the market. Yet most traders took it to be business as usual. Their market leaders went to "see the government" and told the Market women to embark on prayers.
So what is the situation of things in the market?
I have followed the incident from the beginning to date. On Saturday night, news of demolition started flying, many shop owners rushed to the market to carry out their goods. You can imagine the pressure as there stood at the entrance of the market a bulldozer ready to bring down all the structures in the said market. Eventually, by Sunday morning, the market has become an empty field.
This incident have rendered so many families hopeless and put them into severe difficulty. During the demolition, huddlums looted many shops, adding more harm to the traders who are already crying. The question now is: how will those poor women whose means of livelihood depends on what they get daily from the market? Can such poor women be able to pay for a shop in another market at this time? May God help them.
Thankful for your anticipated support.