According to Bill Newman, “You need to be sensitive to the needs and feelings of your people or organization. You need to support them, help them and be concerned for their well being. The true leader will subordinate his or her needs to those of others.” It was a beehive of activities for both the traders and the large turn-out of customers who came to patronize them at the popular Umunede Morning Market located strategically along the new Benin/Asaba Expressway in Umunede. The market as the name implies is a daily market which commences from 7: am in the morning to about 10: am. It is well known because of the cheap and affordable prices of most commodities and items that are sold in the Umunede morning market and the daily slaughtering of cattle at the abattoir, with prices of the meat are very affordable.
However, during a visit to the ever busy Umunede morning market on Tuesday August 22, 2017, the state and environmental condition of the Umunede morning market was so embarrassing and disheartening to say the least. The high heap of waste products from the slaughtered cows littered the whole area of the abattoir, with the muddy flood water around the market and the refuse within the entire environment oozing out offensive odor; has taken over the market. This ugly situation indeed calls for urgent intervention of Ika North East Local Government that is charged with taking care of the market to remedy the situation. It is most unfortunate and worrisome that in this modern digital age, market sheds and unhygienic environment within a major community like Umunede, can be in such a deplorable state with the monthly environmental sanitation across the state every last Saturday of the month with the sanitation taskforce put in place by the Ika North East Local Government in the fight against indiscriminate waste disposal in the council areas, can fold their arms and leave a market like that in such a deplorable situation does not in any way speak well of the council chairman and his team. If one may ask, what are the duties of the health and sanitary departments of the local government council? It was very difficult to get the views of the chairman of the market union, who refused vehemently to speak with the press, emphasizing that he is tired of speaking with different bodies and agencies who have contacted him for comments concerning the Umunede morning market and how to improve its condition.
However, after little patience at the market, some traders who spoke with Ika Weekly reporter on the condition of anonymity frowned at the bad condition of the Umunede morning market, they pleaded with the various authorities in charge of the market; comprising both the state and local government and spirited individuals and organizations to construct a modern open or lock-up shops for traders in the market. In the interim however, they requested for the provision of a water bore hole in the market. They also pleaded for a clean-up of the entire market environment to make it very neat for business activities. Continuing, the anonymous traders pleaded for the concrete flooring of the market and the construction of a burrow pit, to channel flood and muddy waters out from the market. Based on the above suggestions by the traders to the authorities in charge of overseeing the affairs of the Umunede morning market, some of the traders suggested that it will also be nice to add, that the traditional council of Umunede kingdom and the entire indigenes of the community should solicit for the assistance of our amiable governor, Senator, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, in partnering with the World Bank, European Union, SEEFOR and community members of Umunede Kingdom, through counter-part funding by the community, under the auspices of the Ministry of Women Affairs, Community and Social Development Delta State; the project of constructing a beautiful modern lock-up shops for the traders of Umunede morning market, would be one hundred percent achievable, within the shortest time; as so many communities have benefited immensely from such partnership. The Umunede morning market if built could be a very good source of IGR for the Ika North East Local Government Council.
In a chat with Ika Weekly Newspaper reporter at the market, the Isor of Umunede kingdom, Queen Anthonia Ezeagwu disclosed that they have been having different agencies and groups coming to know the challenges facing the market, but they are yet to have any positive impact from such visitations.
After much pressure however, some of the traders and a customer who came to buy some items at the market spoke with Ika Weekly Newspaper reporter.
Sarah Moses, a fish seller at the market, stated that the condition of the market is very bad, everywhere is very dirty. In her words, “the worst is that this is the place where the butchers sometimes slaughter their cows and after bringing out the waste matter, they will drop everything on the ground, making the whole place to be engulfed with offensive, foul odour. Don’t you see how this place is? Irritating sight with dirty muddy water all over the place, most times when it rains, customers don’t usually like coming here to buy things. When asked if there are people who take care of the market, she stated that officials of Ika North East Local Government Council usually come to the Umunede morning market to collect money from them explaining however, that it has been long they came to their section of the market, saying that they do go to the meat and butcher section after which they will go back to their office. She pleaded with both the state and local government council to evacuate the refuse in the market and clean up the place to make it more conducive for business activities. She further stated that with the dirty and bad state of the market, one can be infected by different kind of diseases.
Mr. James Nwobodo, who introduced himself as the second to the vice chairman of the Umunede morning market, said, “We need a more befitting abattoir, the market is good but the environment is not good for business activities, we need Ika North East Local Government Council to come and help us. We need a water bore hole in the market and will also appreciate them building quality lock-up shops or open shops for traders in the market. It is unfortunate that we pay levies to Ika North East Local Government Council every year, yet we have not seen or benefited anything from them.”
Pastor Abel Ucheka Adagbon, a regular customer to the market, said, “we thank God for being alive, health they say is wealth; looking at the environment, the place is very dirty; there is refuse everywhere, the abattoir is unhygienic and looking at the structures of sheds in the market, if you are four feet and some inches in height you cannot stand erect in any of the shops because they are very low.” He pleaded with the Local Government Council to intervene and clean up the market. Saying, “the sanitary department of Ika North East Local Government Council should be alive to their duties and pack all the refuse within the market.” Continuing he stated even the location of the market is threatening to lives because the Umunede morning market is very close to the Benin/Asaba Expressway, “it is dangerous, God forbids if anything happens and any vehicle loses control several lives will be in danger, again I urge the government to construct befitting lock-up shops for the traders; I strongly believe that the traders will be able to afford the rent for such shops”.
Ngozi Okorie, who trades on pepper, cray fish, salt and other varieties, stated that she wants the authorities in charge of the Umunede morning market to evacuate the refuse in the market, build a quality modern abattoir for the butchers at the market, and also construct lock-up shop for traders, that will take into cognizance the provision of space for their customers to pack their vehicles or motorcycles; rather than them packing it along the expressway, which is very dangerous. She used the opportunity to appreciate all the customers who usually patronize them, not minding the condition of the market.