Saturday, October 19, 2013

The rage of Abuja traders!

Four years ago, Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) asked occupiers of
stalls at Karu market to move out to enable it renovate the market
that has unarguably fallen into disrepair , with stall owners and
customers alike facing dire environmental challenges.Apart from the
perennial flooding that often caused pool of stagnant and odorous
water , the sanitation situation got authorities worried about a major
epidemic; so, understandably, many people including shop owners and
residents who patronize the Karu market, saw reason on the need to
renovate the market.
Original owners of the stalls who desired to move back to the market,
as learnt by Sunday Vanguard,were also asked to pay a deposit of
N200,000, with the assurance of moving back into the market in 12
months.But four years later, when majority of those who paid the
initial deposit of N200,000, faced with no place to sell their wares,
after waiting on the authorities of AMAC to live up to their promise
of renovating the market in record time, had to move back into the
uncompleted stalls.
Investigations revealed that the allottees were shocked at the quality
of the stalls, going by the promises made of block stalls.
When Sunday Vanguard visited the market, it was discovered that the
stalls were constructed with zinc, said to be prone to heat. It was
revealed that majority of traders who deposited N200,000 with the hope
of occupying their stalls in good time have since taken up residence
in the stalls, owing to what some of them explained as their
homelessness, as a result of investing all they had in paying for the
Some of the shop owners also complained of extortion by policemen
drafted to the market to secure it, with shops , which have been
turned into residence by the allottees made to pay about N500 daily as
protection fee, while those who only come to trade and go are required
to pay N300.One of the shop owners, who confirmed the development,
Hajia Ramatu Yusuf, lamented, "They moved us out of the former place
and asked us to come to this place. It is four years now, and we have
not moved into any of the shops.
"How can somebody put together a shop with zinc instead of blocks, and
expect human beings to stay in side? Very soon we will be entering
hot season where meningitis will be flying all over the place."Apart
from rain destroying our properties, the police come to this market
every day to collect money from us and these are shops that are yet to
be completed.
"All we are asking the authority to do now is to complete the
buildings and start allocating it to the rightful owners".
On the health challenges in the market, a trader, who did not want her
name mentioned, said, "As you can see, the market is worse than it was
before we were asked to move out to enable them renovate.
"Now, you have stagnant water everywhere and the whole place is
smelly. Infact, I would be surprised if epidemic does not break out
Then you can also see that some people are living inside the shops.
Of course, since the shops are built with zinc, you know that hot
season could bring about meningitis for those who choose to live in
the stalls", she said.
A trader who lives inside one of the shops, Mrs Ruth Adakole, said, "I
am living here because I have no other place to live. I am a widow and
I paid for the shop with the little money I had. We were told that the
shops will be completed in 12 months.
So, after waiting for one year and faced with no place to live, I had
to move into the shop. If the shop had been completed in 12 months, I
would have since recouped my investment of N200,000 from which I
could have hired a house, but, unfortunately, that is not to be".
On the fear of meningitis outbreak, Adakole insisted that she had no
choice than to move into the shop, saying, "What am I to do? If
government can defraud us, innocent and law abiding citizens, what do
we do?

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