Mpape, a popular suburb in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) is a fast growing settlement of indigenous Gbagyi people, with the immense majority of inhabitants being non-indigenous settlers, who are attracted to the area because of its relative closeness to few employment opportunities in the Abuja City.
Also, some of the people were forced to move into the densely populated settlement, during the intensified demolition of illegal settlements around districts such as Wuse, Garki , Gwarinpa and among others within the Federal Capital City (FCC), by successive administrations of the Nation’s Capital, in the name the implementation the Abuja master plan.
For a decades, Mpape has remain a place known for having a number of major quarry sites owned by many reputable construction companies like Berger and Arab contractors, who crushed rocks on a daily basis, for their work.
But to some traders especially meat and fruits dealers, doing business at a popular market known christened Mpape old market, their main reason of being in the settlement is to do business, and nothing else.
To them, they are not concerned with activities outside the market, as they are more focused on how to explore the market more, as it is where they rely on to fend for themselves and families within and outside the area.
A meat dealer, Bala Muhammad, while narrating how he is running his business at the Mpape old market, said that he inherited business from his father Alhaji muhammad Abubakar, who has settled in Mpape from kano state.
He said most of them travel from outside Abuja to as far as katsina, Niger and other part of the country to by Cow, Goat and Rams to come and sell at the place.
He said they often go to a seasonal Katsina market named (asuwar gurbi) which mainly open for business on Thursdays, every week.
Muhammad said they have some certain rules laid down by the Sarkin pawa (the Chief of the market) and members of his cabinet which must be complied with by all in the market, especially those selling meat in the market.
According to him, at least he slaughters ten goats, which he sells every day, to majorly people who own and operate restaurants within outside the area.
“Because I have customers that are selling food in restaurant, which I distribute the meat to and sell the remaining ones in the market with the assistance of my boys,” he explained.
Another trader, selling fruits on the corridors outside the Old market, who pleaded anonymity, said has been into the business for about five years now, and through the business has been feeding his wife, whose name he gave as Halima with two kids Abdulsalam and Fatima.
Also, he said that from time to time he sends something to his parents in Sabon Garin, Kano state.
According to him, he makes averagely about three to four hundred thousand naira (N3000-N4000) daily, from selling fruits such as water melon, oranges, pawpaw and carrots.
He however noted that he is facing a challenge of huge loss from effects of the harsh weather, due to the perishable nature of his goods.
“Imagine a situation where I buy a bag of orange, but most of the orange would spoil while inside the bag, and all that happen because of the weather we have here in Abuja is too hot.
“And we buy most of the perishable goods at a high cost, but when we tell people price, they will be complaining that is too expensive for them.
“But nevertheless, I still thank God that every day I have something that I do to bring money into my pulse, with which to feed myself and family,” he expressed.
Not left out, a customer in the market, Caleb Benjamin, said whenever he enters the market just to get one or two items, but he often ends up spending almost two hours due to the crowd in the market.
“Sometimes if you enter inside the market just to buy an item, you must be pushing and using force to pass through a rough way.
“And considering the situation where we are now battling with the presence of the deadly Ebola Virus Disease, I’m afraid to torch someone’s body,” he said.
He therefore appealed to the relevant authorities to help people trading and buying things in the market, by assisting the traders in upgrading the nature of the market as well as build and maintain the access roads in the area.