Abuja Market Fire: Don’t Give Us Empty Hopes, Traders Beg Govt

Traders at Tipper garage market in Abuja, which was on Thursday completely razed by fire are worried over possible eviction from the market despite promise by the government to provide succor for the victims who have lost their source of livelihood.

THE WHISTLER had reported that fire from unknown source had in the early hours of Thursday completely razed the Market  located on 3rd Avenue, Gwarimpa in Abuja .

The Market Union Heads who spoke with THE WHISTLER expressed concerns over their fate in retaining the market following the incident.

The Federal Capital Territory Minister of State, Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu, who visited the market on Thursday had  assured the victims of government’s assistance alongside the Federal Housing Development Authority.

But during her visit which was monitored by our correspondent, Aliyu expressed concern over frequent fire outbreaks in market across the FCT.

Aliyu had said, “The FCT Fire service personnel rushed down immediately but unfortunately they could not access the market due to poor planning.

“I will sit together and see how we can bring support to those who were affected as much sympathy to the family of the bereaved. But besides that, this also takes us to the very essence of town planning.

“In a city like the Federal Capital Territory, the number one city in the nation even witness a place so over crowded in such a manner that does not befit a modern city. We have to sit down and look at the real drawing of Abuja together and see how other markets will also be upgraded and existing markets would be looked into historically to ensure that all these provisions are made.”

But responding to the development, the market’s legal representative, Umar Abdul- Hameed, told THE WHISTLER on Saturday that sources have allege that the government may evict the traders from the location.

The market solicitor however stated that the traders and the Federal Capital Territory Administration should reach a compromise.

Abdul-Hameed said, “The Minister has already contacted the traders. We spoke with her. We were supposed to hold meeting with her yesterday ( Friday), but due to her engagements, she shifted it to Monday. So we are to see her on Monday. We need them to help the traders and allow them to remain in that market.

“There are rumors that they want to relocate the traders, or evict them from that place. But with the look of things, they are going to stay there.”  

Also speaking, Usmaul Abdulahi, the  Chairman of Tipper Garage Market said in a Chat with THE WHISTLER that they visited the minister and she reassured them that there were ongoing plans to support the victims.

He said, “We are in dare need of government intervention following the fire outbreak which has cut our means of livelihood.

“We plead that the government would fulfil what they have promised during their vist. In this condition all we need is help.

“For now we are leaning on their promise to help us out. Most especially we are scared of being evicted from the market. She said the government will tell us the new plans for the market. We expect them to help us as the minister has promised.”

Kate Innocent, who  is the  Chairwoman of the market, said with the high degree of loss suffered from the fire outbreak, the government was their last resort for help.

For Innocent, the presence of the Minister and other stakeholders was a signal that the government was interested in the plight of the victims.

The managing Director and the Chief Executive of the Federal Housing Authority, Gbenga Ashafa and the Director of the FCT Fire Service, Sani Sa’Idu were all presence at the scene of the outbreak.

Innocent  said, “We expect their help as they have promised all the victims before the press. The fire incident was a huge shock to us. It happen about 2:00 AM and we could not save anything from our shops.”

“According to what they have said we see hope. Since there is power in tongue and she said they will help, then their is hope. If they fail to fulfil their promise, we will call their attention.”