By Balkis Tijani.
Some roadside marketers, who trade outside the popular Mandate Market in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital have expressed anger over the decision of the state government to evict them from the setbacks of the road where they display their wares.
It was gathered that officials of the State Task Force stormed the market on Tuesday, and prevented the traders who had erected shanties by the roadside from going about their normal businesses.
Although, the shacks were not destroyed by the state officials, the marketers were ordered to move them out of the area within one week.
The aggrieved traders who felt hard done by the directive, decried the “cruel treatment” meted out to them, while raining curses on the Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq-led state government.
One of the traders, Hadjia Kafayat Omowunmi, who spoke to our correspondent accused the government of depriving them the opportunity granted them by previous administrations.
According to her, the new government was out to take away their only means of survival, through which they feed their family and send their wards to school.
Reacting, the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mallam Rafiu Ajakaye disclosed that the state government had, since December last year, sensitized the public on the policy to disallow roadside and other unlawful trading.
In a statement he posted on social media, Ajakaye added that, “Over a week ago, the Ministry of Enterprise sent a memo to them, including people at the Mandate Market, to quit the place.
“Yesterday, officials went to them to inform them of the expiration of the deadline to not trade outside the market/roadside. Today, officials went there early enough to take possession of the place (at Mandate) to disallow them from displaying their wares. Please note that no demolition of their shanties took place. Nothing of such. What they did was to take possession of the place. Instead of destroying their shanties, officials have again given them one week to remove those shanties.”
The governor’s spokesman lamented that the activities of the traders do not only obstruct free movement and safety within the area, it also affect the sales of those inside the market.
“Refusal of the government to act would therefore worsen the lawlessness because others in the shops in the market would be persuaded to also bring out their wares since nothing will happen. Is this what we want?”, he queried.