6 July 2011

Nigeria: Street Traders Push More Illegal Boundaries in Lafia

Lafia — Street traders in Lafia, the Nasarawa State capital, are pushing for more boundaries to expand their illegal base, posing more dangers to traffic flow.

The development began about two weeks ago when traders in large numbers began to flock along New Market Road, which they have long turned into their base for display of wares.

This is coming at the heels of complete absence of market stores in the state capital, while the state government continues to turn a blind eye to the untold hardship faced by traders there.

The multi-million naira Lafia Modern Market in Nasarawa State has been completed for more than a year now, but the government is yet to put it to any use even with the increasing trend of street trading in the metropolis of the state capital.

Daily Trust learnt that the project was initiated by the administration of Abdullahi Adamu in 1999. Adamu could not commission the project however, as he left office in 2007 without completing it.

Although Aliyu Akwe Doma, the immediate past governor completed the project, his administration did not link water and power supply there, making shops allotment to traders difficult.

Daily Trust inquiries revealed many factors acting against the utilization of the multi million naira market project.

Traders in Lafia, particularly alleged that top government officials went for the allocation, manipulating the actual traders out, with the intent to sell back their allocation at outrageous price to traders. This is just as they (traders) added that the completed project has no standard of a modern market since it lacks space for car park, adequate toilet facilities and many other considerations.

"The market has no space. It is choking. No car park, no proper ventilation, no adequate toilet facilities. Imagine hundreds of people in that kind of a complex, enclosed", a trader had queried.

Daily Trust also learnt that the state government is yet to get the approval of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) to step down electricity, more than a year after completing the project.

Meanwhile traders have continued to have a field day, flouting urban laws as they have taken over street corners and major roads within the metropolis of Lafia to display and sell their wares. Authorities have also continued to overlook the growing trend.

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