Abuja largest community market rises from ruins of demolition

Abuja largest community market recently demolished by the Abuja Metropolitan Council has risen from its ruins.

Hundreds of traders watched helplessly as they saw their stalls and goods destroyed by the Council on Saturday March 24th.

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It was perhaps the biggest demolition exercise that has affected huge number of the poor by President Muhammadu Buhari-led government in the nation’s capital.

Abuja is among few cities in Nigeria that often witness pulling down of illegal structures by government. And, unlike past administrations in Abuja, Buhari’s government has avoided demolishing areas inhabited by the poor since he assumed power in May 2015.

Bulldozers and armed security operatives, comprising the army, police, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, the Abuja Environmental Protection Board stormed Gosa Market, located along the Airport Road about 1:30pm. Few minutes later, the market was turned to rubbles.

The exercise continued on Monday 26th after some of the traders had decided to continue with their trading.

Government said the market constituted nuisance to the area and should be moved in, at least by 500 metres.

Hundred of locals had gathered with the traders to protest the demolition about 9am, Monday morning. People trade at the market every Monday and Friday. They come from neighbouring states namely Kogi, Nasarawa and Niger to join thousands of Abuja residents who see the market as a place to buy cheapest foodstuffs and other domestic goods.

Placard-carrying Abuja indigenous people, the Gbagyis, claimed the previous administration in the nation’s capital had signed a treaty with them that the market would remain after alleged attempts by the previous government to allocate the land to private estate developers failed.

At a meeting between government and the community, it was agreed that the market be moved far inward from where it used to be along the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Road.

When OakTV visited the market on Friday April 6th, thousands of traders and buyers were seen transacting along the path that lead to the new market.

They appealed to the government to come and clear the new site, part of which is currently used for rock blasting. They also decried challenges they encounter at the new location, one of which is transportation.

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