By Sunday John
Akwanga (Nasarawa State) – Over 300 traders in Nasarawa State on Friday decried the demolition of Akwanga old market by Local Government authorities without compensation..
The traders who mourned over their loses spoke to newsmen in Akwanga on the demolition of their shops by the authority.
“We paid between N200, 000 and N4 million as rent for each shop for a period of 10 years.
“We renewed our rent by paying for five years before the first payment expired based on directive.
“Our rent is supposed to relapse in 2025. We wonder why the local authority demolished the shops without any compensation,” the traders cried out.
Mrs Fidelia Ojioma, spokesperson of the traders, said they paid rent in 2010 for 10 years and were directed by the authority to renew it in 2017.
Ojioma said that the traders complied with the directive before the expiration of the first payment.
She said that the authority only gave them notice of three days and demolished the shops without any compensation.
“It is during the celebration of the New Year that we got information that our shops were being demolished. Before we got to the market, goods were stolen.
“Apart from the 15-year rent we paid, most of us completed the building of the demolished shops ourselves,” the spokesperson said.
She also said that none of the over 70 traders with big shops from the demolished market was allocated a shop in the new market.
“The authorities have allocated all the shops in the new market to none traders who are middlemen to further exploit us in spite of the hardships we are going through,” Ojoima said.
She appealed to Gov. Abdullahi Sule to intervene urgently to address the issue in the best interest of all the traders.
Similarly, Talatu Abdul, another trader, said they paid money for rent and their rent had not expired.
“The economic situation in the country is already not favourable, so the government should not inflict more hardships on us,’’ Abdul said.
When contacted, Samuel Mashi, Chairman of Akwanga Local Government, said that the government duly served the traders notice to relocate to the new market.
Mashi said that the traders voluntary complied with the government directive to relocate based on a meeting with stakeholders.
He denied insinuations that the local government had sold the market to a rich man to build a warehouse.