At the Bauchi Central Market on Thursday, small-scale traders staged a protest over a notice from the Bauchi State government that they must vacate due to traffic congestion on nearby roads.
Three months ago, the state administration awarded new land plots to vendors at Muda Lawal Market, also in Bauchi metropolitan, asking traders to relocate, as part of attempts to alleviate traffic flow in Bauchi, the state capital.
Alhaji Mu’azu Chiroma who fronted the protesters to the NUJ Press Centre in Bauchi complained that the three-month notice given to them was too short and called on the government to extend it.
They requested that Sen. Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed not only extend the deadline but also either offer them loans to establish new shops or to build them for them with the option of making installment payments.
“We were given three months to build shops at the new location but the notice is too short. We cannot build them within the deadline because we are small-scale traders.
“We appeal for loans to build the new shops or the government on the compassionate ground should build for us”, said Alhaji Chiroma.
The state government, on the other hand, has insisted that the traders move from their existing location to a new one within a specified time frame.
Chairman of the market taskforce, Air Commodore Tijjani Baba Gamawa (rtd), expressed the government’s position on the traders’ protest, saying that the government would not extend the deadline.
Baba Gamawa who is also the chairman, Bauchi State Road Transport Agency (BAROTA), noted that sellers who sell their goods near roadways outside of the core market cause major traffic problems around the area by blocking traffic flow.
As a result, he said, the authorities relocated them to reduce traffic near the market.
Gamawa said that the roadside traders must leave the area within 48 hours.