The Name Ohu Variki means Barrack Market (Ohu in English is Market while Variki is Barrack). There are various fascinating aspects to the Variki Market in Okene, Kogi Central, Kogi State. One aspect is its long-standing reputation as one of the most popular markets in Ebiraland, even after years of existence; offering Ita Inochi (Ebira Native Attires) herbs (abo), poultry, food items like (Garri, Eza, Rice etc), Other clothings, craftwork, and other household/common can be found within its coverage on and off Ahogede, Idozumi and Idoji Streets of Okene.
This popular market, like some others in Ebiraland, has withstood the tests of man-made disasters and demolitions some of the disasters occurred due to political clashes, while some are clan and street to street clashes in Okene. Most of the traders remain and devise innovative ways to continue to serve the needs of visitors. Some traders have been there for a decade or more at a stretch while others operate intermittently and return to establish new stalls at different times.
To get to Variki Market (Ohu Variki), travel either through the Okene Central Moque, Okene Central Mosque, or Idozumi to get to Ohu Variki market area. when you are in Atta Onoru-Oiza’s Palace you are already in Ohu Variki in Okene-Eba After arriving, stretches of interwoven streets crowded with people and lined with stalls—usually organised in sections by types of items sold—greet you. It is imperative to continue to ask for directions, especially after covering some ground, in order not to get lost or wander into the other streets surrounding Ohu Variki unless exploring is on the agenda.
Standing at the T-Junction from Okene Secretariat Street are some of Jankara’s finest clocks and wristwatches stalls/shops and kiosk by Abokis or Mallams. A right turn leads further into ‘Okene Library’ while a left turn presents the Old Ohinoyis Palace (Atta Onoru-Oiza).
The main Ohu Varikis buildings were razed by a fire accident, and a ring of steel sheeting now surrounds the former location. However, traders have taken advantage of the immediate environment to carry on with the selling of their craft, poultry, produce, food stuff and condiments, home appliances, spare parts, and more. The demolition also displaced the tie-dye textile traders (most of whom have reportedly relocated to the market now since the razed buildings has been rebuild they provide a key source of attraction for visitors with their activities, as well as the herbs and potions and crafts dealers, who moved further inward, away from their former site.
When planning to visit Variki Market, visitors must be ready to spend a minimum of one hour sightseeing and window-shopping, though actual shopping can cost as much as three to four more. The market operates Mondays to Sundays from around 8am-8pm.
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