There are numerous reports these days that market women are being robbed at the end of business each day at Eke Ukwu, Owerri. The robbers do this unchallenged.
The reports say that once it is time to close the market, the child hoodlums, take positions and charge at the women, snatching hand bags, money, cell phones, sales items and valuables.
Eye witnesses say that the robbers are mainly small boys from homes around the market. They are probably under the tutelage of bigger boys who are training them for big time robbery when they grow up in the future.
They threaten their targets and victims with weapons and actually inflict injuries on them. When they start their operation, there is pandemonium and people start running helter-skelter, getting wounded, and losing their belongings.
Some of the women even lose their loin clothes while running, becoming exposed in the process.
The victims are usually very poor and wretched women trying to make ends meet. Hence it is double jeopardy for them after a whole day's drudgery in the open market where they stand all the time being beaten by the rain and the sun.
These same women are the same street traders being driven away, chased about and subjected to all sorts of dangers and indignities by the authorities. In other words they are making their living under impossible working conditions. Is it not possible to help these people one way or the other? Their problems are rather too much!
There must be a way to protect these people. Society cannot just let them pine away. One of the ways is to police those areas adequately so that criminals cannot make them their easy prey and feel too bold to always harass them.
The mischievous urchins must not be allowed to fester and corrupt even younger ones. More police presence will help to keep them away. The big criminals backing them can and must be put out of business. This development must be dealt with before it makes living conditions that are already too bad for this class of people worse.
(c) Christian voice newspaper