Odawna traders lament their loss

BY: Lydia Naa Martey

Some traders who were affected by the fire outbreak at the Pedestrian Shopping Mall, popularly known as Odawna Market, on Wednesday November 18, are lamenting the loss of their goods and physical cash which they kept in their shops.

During a visit by the Graphic Business to the scene on November 19, 2020, some traders, mostly women, were seen wailing over the loss of their capital ranging from GH¢1,500 to over GH¢10,000.

“Aside our shops and tents for selling being burnt, proceeds from our trading that day are all gone. Some of us restocked our shops with new goods that fateful day and now we have lost everything,” a female trader who refused to mention her name bemoaned.

Others said they had taken loans from the bank to boost their businesses and expressed worry over how they would repay.

“Trading here at the Odawna Market is our only source of income. Now our livelihoods and our children’s education will be affected,” another trader, Kofi Badu, said.

Read: Odawnafire outbreak: NBSSI registers 1,743 victims  ...
The fire incident

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has described the fire that razed the Odawna Pedestrian Shopping Mall as “a big tragedy” and has assured the victims of the government’s urgent support to enable them to restart their businesses.

The fire is reported to have started at about 12 a.m. and it took a 50-man team from the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) using eight fire engines more than six hours to bring it under control.

Some of the traders who spoke to the paper attributed the cause of the fire to the use of gas cooking stoves and illegal electricity connection.

Others said some security personnel assigned to the market “drink, booze and sleep instead of keeping watch over the market.”

Although the cause of the fire is yet to be established, the GNFS is suspicious that it might have resulted from a naked fire that was not supervised or an electrical fault.

The GNFS will conduct a full-scale investigation into the cause of the fire and will make its findings known to the public.

The Odawna Market is fire-prone as it records a fire outbreak almost every year. In 2019, the market was ravaged by fire, with many traders losing their livelihoods.

Govt support

During his visit to the market, President Akufo-Addo said for a start relevant organisations would compile the details of the victims for support and the government had also decided to rewire all markets in Accra to forestall such sad incidents.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the NBSSI, Mrs Kosi Yankey-Ayeh, told the President that her outfit had commenced discussions with the Klottey Korle Municipal Assembly to identify the victims and offer financial support.

She said she was confident that with the progress of work done so far, the NBSSI would be able to give financial support to the affected persons.