Chairman, Association Farmers Market Traders, Usman Mohammed, has decried the continued siege by soldiers on the popular vegetables and fruits market, in Maitama District, Abuja, rarely 24 hours of the last weeks’ car bomb explosion that rocked the EMAB plaza, in Wuse II.
He said there more than 300 traders, who depend on the market to feed themselves and their families, but since the incident most have relocated to their villages, as they could no other find another place to trade.
According to him, “what happened was that we were here last Thursday when some soldiers stormed the market around 5 o’clock and said they gave everybody ten minutes only to vacant the market and up till now we have not heard anything from them. That’s about 5 days now.
In an interview with Peoples Daily, yesterday, Mohammed that the timing of the action at a time the Muslims were starting Ramadan fast, was very unfortunate, as usually during the period, there is always high patronage in the market, as people troop into the place for things to break their fast.
He said they were told that the rationale behind siege on the market, which forced them out of their shops, was for security reason.
When Peoples Daily visited the market, soldiers were spotted keeping a close watch on the market, while some traders display some goods near a mosque within the vicinity of the market, located at Yedeseram Street, off Ibrahim Babagida Boulevard, Maitama District.
On how the displaced traders have been coping with the situation, he said their business have suffered, as most of the goods in the market have become rotten, as none of them were allowed to pick their goods from their shops.
“Whenever it is getting close to Ramadan fasting period, traders in the markets stack commodities in high demand during the period. But it was only yesterday (Saturday) that I was allowed to pick some of my goods from the shop, but most of them have spoiled already.
“Normally, most of our goods would become damaged as they are vegetables and fruits, which are perishables. Only few grocery and bottle water were still intact.
“You know that now we are in the month of Ramadan fasting period, but we had stored our commodities. Everybody had supplies when they lock the market.
“We have more than 300 traders, who depend on this market to feed themselves and their families, but since the incident most have relocated to their villages; and the few ones are now managing with what they can lay their hands on.
On whether there have been any form discussions with the security officials, he said no, as it is only the management of the market that are in any form of talks with the officials.
He added that there has never been any security issue in the market, because they have register for traders in the market, which enables the association to know those trading together with them in the place.
He however appealed to the authorities especially the FCT minister to intervene, so as to them return to their shops, in order to continue with their business.
“I’m begging the government to please look us in good eyes and treat us the same way and manners others in the country are being treated,” Mohammed pleads.