From Mustapha Adamu Kano
A water vendor, Abubakar Garba, has been confirmed shot, as traders protested a clampdown by the enforcement team of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) on Singer Market in Kano state.
The incident occurred at about 12:00 pm, yesterday when the irate traders staged a protest against the alleged confiscation of their commodities, worth N7 million by NAFDAC.
The angry traders reportedly burnt tyres along Bello Road in the Kano metropolis, causing traffic gridlock along all the roads leading to the market.
An eyewitness, Hamza Kwabdo, told our correspondent that the protest started peacefully but some angry youth in the market went violent and started burning tyres.
He added that as soon as the fireworks started, some officials of the market swiftly intervened and ordered to put out the fire.
He further said that as they were trying to quench the fire, suddenly the NAFDAC ‘s enforcement team arrived and started shooting sporadically to disperse the protesters.
He also narrated that as they were firing the gunshots, the bullet hit the 70-year old water vendor, as he was trying to scamper for safety.
“As he abandoned his cat and tried to run away, I just saw him down in the pool of his blood. When the gunshots stopped, we rushed to him and found that he was shot on his thigh. We then rushed him to hospital where he is currently receiving treatment,” Kwabdo said.
Meanwhile, the secretary of the Kano State Traders Union (KASTU), Singer Market branch, Abdullahi Dauda, said the serial operations on their market by the NAFDAC officials was the reason for the protest.
He alleged that the agency had routinely laid siege on the market, confiscating their commodities on the premise that they do not carry the NAFDAC registration number.
According ding to him, they supplied the said commodities through appropriate channels, wondering why the consignment scaled through the border without the authorities check whether or not it carried the NAFDAC registration number.
“We contacted the NAFDAC but they refused to listen to us. This serial clampdown on our market has inflicted a lot of hardship on our people. Let me tell you that since the operation started, NAFDAC has confiscated our commodities worth N7 million.
“We have lost a lot of customers as a result of this operation. If we sell the CO traband commodities, why do the authorities fail to check it at the borders?,” he asked rhetorically.
Dauda also called on the government to intervene in the matter for their business to continue flourishing.
When contacted, the NAFDAC coordinator, Kano State, Muhammad Bashir Mu’azu, said the operation was in line with the responsibilities of the agency to check the commodities that were not approved by it.
“This traders are of the habit of supplying contraband commodities at the expense of the public. These commodities are consumed by the public and we know they are not approved by us, as such, we will not allow it to be available in order to secure the lives of the people.
“It is our responsibility to check the proliferation of such commodities. Our operation is online with our sole responsibility,” he explained.
When asked about the reported gunshots, Mu’azu neither debunked, nor confirmed the incident, but said that he directed his officials to withdraw from a place if there seemed to be a violence.