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Published On: Thu, Jun 26th, 2014

Security challenges drop sales in Wuse market – Bizman

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Alhaji Ayuba Mohamed, is the Managing Director of AA Moh,D &Sons, Abuja. He is also the acting Chairman of the Wuse Market Traders Association, in Federal Capital Territory (FCT). In this chat with our correspondent, Chris Alu, he laments how the nation’s prevailing security challenges have led to significant drop in sales, in the market and other sundry matters affecting business activities there. Excerpt:

Recently, following a bomb scare in Abuja, traders in some major markets were locked out by security agents, for hours over routine security checks. What is the situation now and some of the challenges facing traders in Wuse market?

Our challenges are numerous. But, since the first after the cleanup exercise in the market, done by the former FCT minister Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, number of shops was reduced to create space in the market. In the process, many shops were closed down and from there many traders loss their shops. Today, many shops are still owned and managed by the government but some of the sublets are owned by individuals. In fact, majority of them belong to the government, and we pay yearly for using them. But as we were about recovering from the shock the restructuring, the security issues came and hit us even harder. This is very worrisome to us, because the police are preventing customers from gathering in ‘crowded’ places including Wuse market, where the security agencies go round telling customers not to gather in one place for safety reasons. That alone has instilled fear into them (customers). As a result, we noticed that customers are not patronizing us (traders) like they used to do before. Specifically, the twin bombings that happened in Nyanya motor park has contributed most in scaring customers away from entering the market, which has affected our volume of sales in the place. For instance, some goods that were supplied to me since last month are still unsold unlike before. This is because goods don’t stay up to three days, it will be sold out, but now we don’t even know when our goods will get finish.

Has the situation affected the price of commodities in the market?

The prices of goods has not increased and the producers and suppliers too have not increase the prices of commodities, but like I said, the present security challenges has effected a lot of business activities from the producers down to the suppliers and we, the retailers. For me, before I used to make one million naira sells in a day, but now I find it difficult to even record hundred thousand naira sales within the same period, and sometimes many traders cannot even make sales of fifty thousand in one day.

What is the Wuse traders association doing to address the challenges facing them in the market?

We only had meeting with the Abuja market managers, who are managing the market. We had discussion concerning the issues of low turnout of buyers, as a result of the security threat in the FCT, and how police preventive measures have often times instill fear to customers, but the management said for now they can not do any thing about it.

What’s your take on the way forward?

So far, they (security agencies) are doing their best to ensure that the market is safe from any crime and dangers. This is they (particularly the police) know their job very well and the source of their information is more than what we know. Therefore, if they issue warning over impending security threat in the market, everybody has to obey (including our customers). So we are not blaming the customers because it is not their fault that they had to avoid coming to market as they used prior to the recent heightened insecurity in the land.

Specifically, what would you say the government should do, in order to change the fortunes of traders in the market?

We are appealing to the FCT minister, Senator Bala Mohammed, to ensure that police and other security agencies get the best equipment, so that customers would have confidence in their ability to secure the market. And the security agencies themselves should be at red alert at all times and also closed down many entering points into the market, in order, to prevent people from entering the market anyhow, because wuse market has so many entering areas which is contributing to the present customers’ fear. Therefore, the commissioner of police with the FCT minster should ensure tight security within the market premises all the times and as well close all entering points, so that the market will have one gate- in and out for customers to have confidence, and continue patronising us.

 

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