By Jude Owuamanam, Managing Editor, Northern Operations
Abuja (Sundiata Post) — Traders at the popular Chobe market in Jos North local Government Area of Plateau State have protested the destruction of their shops by those they described as agents of the state government.
Gov. Simon Lalong
The traders, mostly of Igbo origin, migrated to Chobe market after they were chased out of the popular Kwararafa and Dilimi markets during the Plateau crises.
They alleged that the said officials did not only destroy their shops, they also looted their wares from the shops.
In a protest letter to Governor Simon Lalong, a copy of which was made available to Sundiata Post in Jos on Wednesday, the traders through their Chairman, Sunday Okpe, said that sometimes in 2016, they were informed that the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, had instructed that they should stop trading activities at the market.
He added that they confronted the officials of the ministry on why they should be asked to stop carrying out businesses in the area since it is a neighbourhood market.
He said that officials informed that doing businesses in private homes and house was not against the law, that what they only frowned at was trading along the streets.
The chairman said that they promptly complied and directed their members to clean the streets of all illegal structures, adding that the officials thereafter directed them to start dealing with officials of the Jos Metropolitan Development Board henceforth.
“The traders again complied and dialogued with the JMDB, which promised the traders a peaceful, undisturbed and unviolated stay in their businesses and shops.
“The traders were embarrassingly shocked to see that their shops were vandalised and their wares looted by government agents said to have come from JMDB.
“It is instructive to note that the vandalisation and looting of the shop took place during national environmental sanitation exercise hours when no trading activity was taking place at anywhere in Nigeria, including Chobe.
“It is equally instructive to note that the whole area from Kasuwa Nama, Muhammadu Wada, Ali Kazaure, Busa Buji, Enugu Street, OLA Hospital and adjoining areas use Chobe as their neighbourhood market,” he said in the statement.
The traders, therefore, asked the state government to hem for the losses.
Efforts to get the Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Ezekiel Daju, were unsuccessful.