Traders in Bauchi protest vacation order from central market, appeal for soft loans from government to build shops before relocating
The protesting traders in Bauchi
By Akanji Alowolodu, Bauchi
Barely 24-hours to the expiration of the 48-hour ultimatum given to them to vacate the spaces they are said to be illegally occupying, petty traders and other artisans trading at the Bauchi central market have protested over the notice given to them by the state government.
The State government through the Committee on Relocation of Illegal Traders had issued a 48- hour quit notice to the traders to vacate the various spaces they are operating from as a result of the traffic congestion caused on the busy roads.
The government had also three months ago allocated new plots and spaces to the traders at a new location close to Muda Lawal market and asked them to relocate there.
But the traders who embarked on a peaceful protest at the NUJ Press Center on Thursday lamented that the deadline given to them was too short therefore calling on the government to extend the deadline.
Speaking on behalf of the rest, Leader of the amalgamated small scale traders who led the protest to the secretariat of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Alhaji Mu’azu Chiroma said that the affected businessmen could not afford to build the shops in the new location within the stipulated period.
He asked the state Governor, Senator Bala Mohammed to as a matter of leniency extend the period of the evacuation as well as give them soft loans to enable them build new shops or build it for them so they would pay in installments.
He said that, “We were given three months to build the shops at the new location but the notice is too short. We cannot build them in the deadline because we are small scale traders” .
Mu’azu Chiroma added that, “We are appealing for loans to be able to build the new shops or the government on compassionate ground should build for us”.
When contacted, the Chairman of the taskforce on the market relocation who doubles as the Chairman, Bauchi state Road Transport Agency (BAROTA), Air Commodore Tijjani Baba Gamawa (rtd) insisted that government would not extend the deadline urging the affected traders to vacate the area in the next 48 hours.
According to him, the traders who sell commodities near roads outside the market cause serious traffic difficulties around the area saying that was what information the decision to evict the affected business men.