Nasarawa traders protest demolition of market
No fewer than 400 traders in Nasarawa State on Friday protested the demolition of Akwanga Old Market by the authorities of the local government.
Narrating their ordeal in an exclusive interview with Saturday Punch, the spokesperson for the traders, Mrs Fidelia Ojioma, said their shops were demolished by the authority.
“We paid rent of between N200, 000 to N4m for each shop in the demolished market for a period of 10 years and renewed our rent by paying for five years before the first payment expired based on directive.
“Our rent is supposed to expire in 2025, therefore we are wondering why the local authority had to demolish our shops now without any compensation,” she lamented.
She claimed the authority only gave them three days notice and demolished their shops without any compensation.
“It was during the celebration of the New Year that we got information that our shops were being demolished and before we got to the market some of our goods had been stolen.
“Apart from the rent for 15 years, most of us have completed the building of the shops ourselves.”
She added that none of the over 70 traders from the market was allocated a shop in the new market.
“They have allocated all the shops in the new market to middlemen to further exploit us despite the hardship we are already going through.”
She called on Governor Abdullahi Sule to address the issue in the best interest of all the traders.
She said, “The economic situation in the country is already not favourable, so the government should not compound our hardship.
“We lost our customers and as you can see, we do not have shops at the new market, and we wonder how we would meet our family needs.”
When contacted, the Chairman of Akwanga LGA, Samuel Mashi, said the traders were duly served with the notice on the intention of the government for them to relocate to the new market.
He said the traders voluntary complied with the government directive to relocate based on a meeting with stakeholders.