Chairman of Warri South Local Government Area in Delta State, Dr. Michael Tidi, has described the protests surrounding the deployment of a Market Master to administer affairs at Ogbe-Ijoh market, Warri as misguided, and lack of adequate knowledge of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, regarding ownership and administration of markets.

Dr. Tidi, who spoke in reaction to reported protest by Ijaw youths, explained that the Ogbe-Ijoh market was duly handed over to Warri South Local Government Council under his administration in 2018 by the state government in line with the constitution. The necessary ground work was done by a management committee to ascertain the actual number of shops in the market, before a civil servant from revenue unit of the council’s finance and treasury department was deployed to ensure seamless administration of the market, he stated.

While insisting that the deployment was purely administrative in adherence to the extant law, the Warri South Local Government Chairman, stressed that ownership and administration of markets in Nigeria are not under the purview of any tribe or political affiliation, hence the Delta State Government handed over Ogbe-Ijoh Market to Warri South Local Government Council.

The Warri South Council Boss, who advised the protesters and their sponsors to do a background check on the legality or otherwise of the institution responsible for market administration in the country, stated that other major markets in Warri South, such as Igbudu, Dore (Main) and Pessu, are administered by market masters who are qualified civil servants deployed by the local government councils.

He added: “The Market Master supervises/oversees the running of Local Government Council’s Market(s) and ensures that the revenue due to the Council is remitted accordingly.”

Dr. Tidi emphasized; “The appointment of a market master is a purely administrative task and by law the market master must be a civil servant.

” Warri South Local Government Council complied with the law. It should not be an issue that the Chairman of Council abides within the law.

“The appointment was done over a year ago and the appointee has been carrying out his functions without complaint from any quarter for over a year now. That shows that those beating drums are mischievous.

“There has been no complaint against the market master for over one year during which he was fulfilling his obligations. The complaint against his ethnicity is not a valid complaint. Imagine someone now saying the market master must be from a certain ethnicity – in clear violation of the law.

“This is a futile attempt to disturb the peace which Warri has enjoyed for over a decade now  and such conduct should be condemned by all men of good will.

“Under the local government law, where a position is reserved for civil servants any civil servant can occupy such a position. So an Isoko civil servant can be treasurer of Warri South Council and no Itsekiri or Urhobo has a right to complain.

“The protesters were mostly children who cannot read the words on the placards they were hired to carry. Clearly no one is interested in ethnically motivated sentiments in the middle of the 21st century when performance is the key to progress. No one has complained about the performance of the market master.

“It is likely that those beating the drums of ethnic discord are seeking to personally benefit from chaos which they threaten to unleash on Warri. But the people of Warri are wiser than that,” he declared.