By Albert Akota – Abuja
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has vehemently promised to invite the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Malam Muhammad Musa Bello, head of Gosa community and some stakeholders over the demolition of Gosa market.
The Acting Executive Secretary of the Commission, Mrs. Oti Ovrawah who disclosed this yesterday when she led top management staff of the commission to the demolished Gosa market on Abuja Airport highway.
She said the commission would carry out serious investigation to ascertain the amount of goods destroyed, number of persons brutalized and number of persons hospitalized during and after the demolition.
Musa Bello who had earlier set up a committee saddled with the responsibility of bringing normalcy to the community assured the traders and villagers that open markets would still be allowed in the communities to function as it was customary to operate open markets.
Mrs. Oti Ovrawah who implored the community to embrace peace, also assured them of the commission’s willingness to fight for their fundamental human rights.
According to her, “the commission will invite the minister and the relevant stakeholders to discuss way forward on how to protect their rights, we’ve seen peaceful negotiation here among the Goza community, we want it to continue, we were told that the FCAD taskforce manhandled some villagers destroyed goods, we will do our investigation to unravel the truth of the matter, we are inviting the minister, the traders, villagers head for discussion, “she assured them.
Some of the residents, who spoke with our correspondent, said that, the market was demolished on Saturday, March 24 without prior notice.
According to them, the market is the place where they carry out their businesses and take care of their families.
Mrs Hawa Adamu, a widow with four children and six grandchildren said that with the demolition of the market many families would suffer considering the fact that there was no job as many people were unemployed.
“We are not happy at all, the market was always busy, especially on Fridays as people from different places come to buy and sell at the market,” She said.
Another resident, Gloria Yohana said that over 500, 000 goods were destroyed and the market was given to us by Goodluck Jonathan administration, “I don’t know what this government wants people to do, no job, yet the only source of getting money is being demolished, they should consider us because we are indigenes.”
Also speaking, the head of the market Itinus Wahizeer, said “At least the government should have made provision for another market before demolishing the old one, they have to provide another one, they are trying their best to construct it so that we can go back to our business today. ”
Meanwhile, director of engineering services of the FCTD, Engr Hadi Shehu who spoke on behalf of the minister, said that the demolition was as a result of blockage of the Abuja Airport express road.
According to him, this is with a view to protect lives and arrest the gross violation of traffic rules on a major gateway to the city.
“As you can see, we have moved them to the permanent site, we contacted Julius Berger for the construction, the market operation will resume today, it was necessary because of the present danger that illegal trading on the buffers.
“For some time, travelers on the Airport road every day, especially on Fridays suffer untold hardships on their way to or from Abuja, as they have to endure traffic hold-ups occasioned by traders blocking the road,” He explained.