Two days after fire razed Ekiosa (Osa Market) in Benin City, thieves have started returning items they stole from the market.
It was a reminiscence of the 2004 Oba Market fire incident where thieves returned stolen items from the market after Ayelala priests visited the market.
Ekiosa was gutted by fire on Sunday afternoon and thieves had a field day breaking into shops and looting items.
On Monday, the market leaders invited Ayelala worshipers to place curses on those who caused the fire and thieves that stole items at the market.
The Aiyelala worshippers, clad in red attires, walked round the market with a rooster cursing those responsible and the thieves.
Addressing a delegation of the Benin monarch Omo N’Oba Ewuare II, Edo State President of Market Women Association, Mrs. Blacky Ogiamien, said the thieves have started the stolen goods after the deadly curse.
Blacky said several items ranging from bags of rice, roll of wrappers, cartons and gallons of grand nut oil, goats and others have been dumped at different places beside the market square.
Besides returning the stolen items to the market square, some persons opted to return items to the Oba Palace.
Sources at the palace said those that returned items claimed that they seized them from people that stole them from the market.
Blacky stated that the invitation of the dreaded juju priests (Ayelala group) was to prevent future fire incidents at markets in the state.
“They have started returning our stolen goods as we invited Ayelala people to place curse on those behind the series of pains being inflicted on market women and other traders in the state
“Those who are putting fire on our asset in the state and those using the opportunity to steal our goods in the market would not longer be free this time.”
One of the affected traders whose goods have been returned, Mr Gentle Imuetinyan Usoh, said the invitation of juju priests was appreciable, stressing that more of their stolen goods would be recovered in no distance time.
“Since Ayelala was called into this market fire incident early today, we have started getting back some some of our stolen goods
“Many of my goods which I thought were burnt by the fire have been brought to the side of the market today. I still believe that our other goods would be fully recovered,” Usoh said