Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State has apologised to the widow whose wares were confiscated at the Oba Ovonramwen Square, Benin City last week.
Speaking to a delegation of Federation of Muslim Women Association of Nigeria (FOMWAN) in Government House Benin City, on Friday, Oshiomhlole said “I regret my action”.
According to him, “Last week, I had an encounter with a young lady at Oba Ovonramwen Square by Mission Road. She was trading on the road and too many people have been doing this. They block the road with their wares. Part of the problem of Benin before now is that it is so difficult to drive round the City.
“That also affects the economic, social and commercial life of the City. The people cannot move from one place to the other. Where you could have spent thirty minutes, you are spending hours. We have various officers we have assigned to keep the roads clean, to keep the walkways clean so that people can walk. As you may have noticed in the past, there is no street in Benin City that had a walk way.
“But you find some of our women; they just convert the road to trading post. For years we have been sermonizing. I came across this young lady who chooses to put her wares right on the road thereby creating blockade and obstruction. We are all human and in my anger I said to her, how would you be doing this? I asked them to confiscate her wares”, he said.
Explaining further Oshiomhole said”She told me ‘I am a widow’ and I said if you are a widow must you do things that would make other women widows. By this obstruction you have caused, you could cause accident. You could actually get knocked down.
“In the process I probably said something that I should not have said. I want to say that I do appreciate that I come from a very poor background. I understand the pains of the poor. We also need to be careful so that the poor do not create more problems.
“Just to say to our women that I regret having said what I said to her. But I am troubled by what I see sometimes. We spend tax payers’ money to build roads so that people can walk and yet some of these things happen. I regretted that particular action but help us to preach to our women to try and respect the right of way”, the Governor urged the FOMWAN officials.
The Governor further charged the women thus: ”I would encourage you to propagate the virtues of Islam and as mothers you should preach peace and love which Islam represents. By your actions you are helping people to recognize that we are all brothers and sisters belonging to one large family”
Oshiomhole admitted that this is a difficult time for Nigeria; the level of poverty is high, adding that a lot of women are challenged as single mothers and the challenge of modern societies have thrown most women to become breadwinners.
Earlier, the President of the Federation of Muslim Women Association in Nigeria (FOMWAN) Hajia Amina Omoti expressed delight at the amazing transformation in the state in the last five years and commended the Governor for turning Benin City into a modern city.
She disclosed that FOMWAN is involved in the improvement of the socio-economic status of women, youth and children through training, provision of qualitative education and micro-enterprise schemes and community advocacy.