Kaduna traders count losses over market demolition

Traders at the popular 740 Motor Park Market in Kaduna metropolis are counting their losses after the market was demolished by agents of the Kaduna State government on Thursday night.

The demolition, according to an eyewitness, started around 11:00 pm with a bulldozer accompanied by heavy security, such as men of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corp (NSCDC) and men of the Nigeria Police.

By Friday morning, men of the Nigeria Police were still stationed at strategic locations within the area of the demolished market guarding against any form of breakdown of law and order.

BusinessDay gathered that the market demolition is in connection with the urban renewal project of the state government.

Abdulhazeez Abdulkadir, a retiree of the Ministry of Defence, who resides close to the demolished market, said the demolished market land was meant for a parking lodge and not a market. He said the purpose of the land was for inter-city garage, a place where travellers could have some rest before proceeding on their journey, but that aim was defeated when shops were built around the space.

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It was also gathered that the traders were notified and given the opportunity to remove all their belongings before the demolition was carried out.

However, our reporter who was at the scene saw the traders standing in groups, helplessly, and counting their losses.

Hassan Umar, a trader in the market, said the exercise was irrational as it would only compound the hardship that people are already going through, considering the low patronage that they were trying to manage with.

“Before now we were complaining of low patronage and now for some of us, we don’t even know where and how to start with this demolition. Our means of livelihood has been taken, and it is very unfortunate that this is happening now that the majority of the traders cannot afford to rent new shops due to the economic hardship,” Umar lamented.

Another trader who pleaded anonymity frowned at the state government’s policy of demolition of markets across the state. He said the demolition exercise was not done in the interest of the masses, adding that it would only plunge the residents into more hardship.

“Yes, we are aware of the urban renewal project of the government, but even at that, the government must always consider the masses,” the person said.

“What’s the alternative for the people? Yes, development is good, but the way and manner the government is going about it is rendering people useless as they lose their means of livelihood.”

He urged the government to always consider the people in coming up with any economic policy.

“With this development, I am yet to recover from the shock because I am already disorganized, and I believe it is the same for many other people,” he said.

The 740 Motor Park Market is one of the markets that have been demolished do far under the administration of Governor Nasir El-rufai in the last few years.

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