Nasarawa traders protest de­mo­li­tion of mar­ket

The Punch - - NEWS - Umar Muhammed, Lafia

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.

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