The Benin-Lagos highway was on Monday, October 24, 2016 blocked by market women in protest of the planned relocation of traders by the Egor Local Government Area of Edo State.
The protesters, under the aegis of Uselu Market Women Association, bore different placards with different messages to drive home their griefs as they protested around the Uselu/Ugbowo section of the highway.
Travellers were obstructed by the protesters who are strongly against the directive that the stores built by the council should be locked up.
Some of the women said the N1.2 million charged for the stalls was too expensive for them, especially considering the type of businesses most of them do.
It was gathered that the women became more frustrated and aggrieved when the local council commenced the removal of their make shift shops on Monday.
One of the protesters who gave her name as Mrs Celena Okon, described the council’s action as “an act of wickedness” especially at a time when the country’s economy is nothing to write home about.
She said: “What am I selling that you will force me to pay over a million naira for a single store? I believe they should consider the worth of our businesses individually.
“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 funds to grow their businesses.”
Another protester identified as Mrs Imade Osifo, said they decided to barricade the major road to create awareness to the world on the ordeal of market women in the state.
She said: “They want to force us to go into the stores and we have told them that we cannot afford the stores; that is why they are destroying our businesses.”
“When the plan to construct these lock-up stores came up, they (Council) told us that the prices will be pocket friendly, especially to some of us involved in petty trading.
“But what do we have now, N1.2 million for a store is a price that most of us cannot afford; there is no way many of us can afford that now.
“Even if the country’s economy was okay, how do you expect a woman who sells only salt and Maggi to generate such.”
It was gathered that the police attempted to arrest the enraged protesters but they resisted their efforts.
Meanwhile, as at press time, a handful of motorists were stranded on the highway while other commuters have resorted to trekking to get to their destination.