*Traders lament only one day notice was given before demolition
*Insist market developed with personal resources
*Victims appeal to Tinubu, Kwankwaso for help
*Natives cry to Enugu Govt over alleged criminal activities, illicit drug in market
By; JACOB ONJEWU DICKSON & KELVIN OKPARA, Enugu
Traders operating at Ugwuoba Cattle Market, KM 54/55 Enugu-Onitsha Express Way, Ugwuoba, Oji-River LGA, Enugu State are lamenting losses, following the demolition of the business environment by the Enugu State Government.
This is as they alleged that over 10,000 traders of Northern extraction doing business at the market have lost their sources of livelihood.
The demolition of the market, said to have been established in 1995 by Cattle Dealers And Butchers, New Nigerian was reliably informed, took place on Saturday February 10, 2024 after only two days notice was handed down to the businessmen.
Among the people said to have established the market, are, Alhaji Buba Garba Dankasa (Sarkin Zango), Cattle Dealer, and Abubakar Saleh (Sarkin Pawa), Butcher.
Garke Ungoba Market, also known as Enugu Market, is one of the prominent markets in Nigeria.
It is located in the city of Enugu, which is in the South Eastern part of the country. The market has a rich history that dates back many years.
The market has been a vital hub for trade and commerce in the region for centuries. It has served as a place where people from different communities come together to buy and sell goods, exchange ideas, and interact with one another.
Over time, the market has evolved and grown to become a major economic center in the region. It has played a crucial role in the development of Enugu and has contributed significantly to the local economy.
Meanwhile, a memo written by concerned stakeholders ahead of the demolition, reads, “It’s sad to announce to you today that Enugu State Government wants to demolish this historical market where more than 10,000 individuals are feeding their families and the majority of the community living there and making business are Hausa people, and this incident comes along without any notice or notification to vacate from the premises and the demolition is set to take on Saturday 11th of Feb. 2024,
“We are appealing to our core northerners who have been trying to see they make difference in the lives of those who are not strong enough to fight this injustice.
“It’s with this we calling on the humanitarian general, Sen Engr Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso to please come for our rescue as it’s his habit to see he makes this difference into humans life. “
Meanwhile, traders of the Ugwuoba Cattle Market and natives of the locality were said to have cried out to the state government over the activities of criminals and illicit drug dealers in the market and environs.
They however, heaped the blame on the huge number of shanties and local lodges that houses criminal elements, prostitutes, and dealers in illicit drugs such as Indian hemp and methamphetamine (Mkpuru mmiri) on indiscriminate allocation/sale of lands to strangers by some indigenes of the area.
The traders and natives made the call while speaking with newsmen at the weekend, over claims that the market might be a hibernating ground for criminals, who operate in Enugu and Anambra states.
Chairman of the Cattle Market, Abubakar Sadiq, identified illicit drugs and prostitution as major issues in the area.
“Actually, in the last two months, we have had issues of people fighting and stabbing each other to death under the influence of drugs.
‘ Most of these people are taking ‘Mkpurummuri’. After taking that substance, they ended up fighting. Unfortunately one of them died.
“On 20th November, Umar Garba Yakubu, under the influence of drugs, stabbed Safiu Mohammed from Taraba State to death. Safiu’s people wanted to retaliate, but with the intervention of the executives and the police, we arrested the situation and Umar was arrested and handed over to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Police. He is in jail now.
“Another one happened on 4th December when one Yusuf Adamu from Gombe State was stabbed by a person that I don’t know his name.
“But with the help of security, we arrested him and handed him over to the security operatives. That one was also under the influence of drugs too.
“The major problem causing insecurity here is drugs. They transact in and take drugs here. So that is the cause of insecurity in this place.
“Aside from that, we have some areas that accommodate criminals. This is at the extension of the market. The market is too large. There are places where they sell alcohol and prostitutes are there too. These attract criminals.
” I could remember the last time there were people who kidnapped someone in Anambra State, but they came and hid here. Those places are under Gariki, but we (the executive) don’t have control over them because the land was given to them by the indigenes.
“Each time we complain to them, they tell us that it is their land and that we cannot tell them what to do with their land. But in the eye of the government, everywhere here is Gariki,”
Vice Chairman of Ugwuoba Cattle Market and an indigene of the town, Shedrach Ezeani, also collaborated on the issues raised by Sadiq.
“I represent the Amachala family, owners of this place, in the Gariki executives. We are here working together with the executives and the market authorities.
“The issues we have in terms of security is that there are too many hoodlums around this Gariki. Our chairman tried many times, through the local government, to at least reduce them. But people from outside Ugwuoba come in and reside by the side of this market. That is the problem we are facing here.
“From 2004 we used to collect rent around Gariki suburb, not the main Gariki. We didn’t have problems then.
“But some years later, some boys said they don’t want family owners of the land to collect the rent and they said let every individual manage his own portion of land. So, many started giving portions of land to unknown persons. From then, hoodlums gathered around there.
“Government should come in because the Gariki Market does not have the capacity to do this. If you ask anybody, he will tell you that this is my father’s portion of land. Those shanties and unregulated lodges are not doing good for this place.
According to him, “people hide there in the name of Gariki and do all sorts of things. They invite lodgers from unknown destinations. Criminals will join them to lodge. That is the problem we are having. The government has to take action and control them,”
When contacted, the state Commissioner for information, Aka Eze Aka, said he was not disposed to talking to our correspondent on the issie, saying “i am not in the condition of talking to you now please” he said.