Kaduna: Barnawa Community Protests el-Rufai’s Planned Demolition Of Market …Says It Would Lead To More Unemployment

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The protesters in action

By; JACOB ONJEWU DICKSON
In a desperate bid aimed at getting Governor Nasir el-Rufai’s sympathy that would lead to rescinding the Kaduna State Government’s  decision to demolish the market in their community, union leaders, shop owners, tenants and others from Barnawa Community embarked on a peaceful protest on Friday around the market’s vicinity.
Carrying placards that bore different inscriptions like ‘we say no to demolishing our market’ and others, their efforts paved off as several journalists were attracted to find out what was going on.
Chairman of Kaduna Market Traders Union, Malam Abdullahi Suleiman said that the government served them notice of the demolition on February 27, 2017, giving them 10 days deadline to  vacate the premises.
He explained that they were not against government’s plans, but appealed that the government should consider their plight as they had spent resources in developing existing structures within the facility.
“We are here protesting to call the governor’s attention because we received notice that they want to demolish our shops and contract it out to a developer to build new shops after which we may be expected to buy or lease from them.
“We are not happy about the development because we have seen the experiences gathered from other areas were similar exercises were carried out and are not convinced it would work in the general interest of the common man,” he submitted.
He said though the notice handed out to them had expired, they thank the Governor because he may have postponed the action after reading a letter they addressed to him.
While fielding questions from newsmen, the Kaduna State Chairman, National Union of Tailoring and Garment Workers of Nigeria (NUTGTWN), Comrade Abdulazeez Adeyemi  said that they expect the state government to first of all, compensate and relocate them before embarking on the planned demolition.
He explained that since they were the ones that built the existing structure, it would be unfair for them to lose all only to start again when a developer invests funds into building new structures.
He further said that at a time like this when the economic condition in the country was harsh and telling on many families, it was not a timely decision, stressing that so many tailors doing their trade in the market would  lose source of livelihood.
“We are creating jobs in this period that jobs are being lost and expect that we should be encouraged to train more young men and women who would eventually be established and create jobs in their
businesses,” he said.
Also commenting, a trader who said he has been operating from a rented shop at the market for over 20 years, David Ilori lamented that the government should listen to the voice of their appeal.
“The government said that they are creating jobs. Is that how to create jobs?” he queried.
Ilori went on to explain that the Barnawa Market was well structured and boasts of standard shops that were mostly decked with room for roads inside.
“So we appeal that they should let it be. In Sheikh Gummi Market after they did what they are trying to do here, many people lost their lives as a result of the untold hardship losing their shops brought on them.  And now if you go there, you would see that 60 per cent of the shops in the market are unoccupied,” he stressed.
He also pointed at the Railway Station which he said was demolished years ago and has not been reconstructed till date, prompting him to advise the government to first of all concentrate its efforts at the Station Market’s reconstruction.

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