By Mohammed Ibrahim Yaba
Traders in Kaduna metropolis have embarked on special prayers over the state government’s plan to expand some major markets in the state. The traders seek God’s intervention as they expressed doubt over the sincerity of the government to expand the markets without providing an alternative to them.
Governor Nasir El-Rufai in a recent live media chat aired on radio stations in the state listed some of the markets to be expanded to include Kasuwar Barchi, Sabon Gari and Central markets (Shaikh Gumi).
He said most of the markets were congested because there were no plans for expansion. “These markets need expansion and we are going to expand them. We also intend to build new markets in neighbourhood communities like shopping malls where people will go and rent shops. From here we will also move to Zaria and Kafanchan towns to build new markets. We just have to develop the state,” he said. Governor El-rufai said new markets would be built in Rigasa, Igabi Local Government Area, and Zonkwa. Some of the traders at Kasuwar Barchi in Tudun Wada interviewed by Arewa Trust Weekly, however, rejected the idea and are praying against it. Sani Muhammad, a tailor in the market, said the special prayers were conducted in some mosques within the market against the plan. “There were special prayers against the plan because many of us are worried about the expansion. We are worried due to lack of alternative for traders if the expansion begins,” he said. Jafaru Madobi another trader said: “This to us is wickedness because as I speak we are all worried and confused. We all know that by the time the market is demolished many of us will not be given another shop. For me what we need is capital from the governor not market expansion.” Jafaru added that they are now praying for God to touch the governor’s heart so as to change his mind towards the plan. Usman Mani, a secondhand cloth seller, also said: “We are worried since the pronouncement by the governor because there is no alternative provided to us. Where does he want us to go because majority of us cannot afford the kind of money to rent the new shops after the expansion? “We also expected to hear him talk about paying compensation for our shops to be demolished but he didn’t say anything in that regard. So as far as I’m concerned these expansions will only lead to unemployment rather than providing jobs because by the time he forces us to leave many will be out of business,” he said. Mani said presently some traders are paying N5000 as rent per shop in the market which has over 3000 shops.