Petty traders in Yola, the capital of Adamawa State, have protested the demolition of their makeshift shops situated along major roads in the city by the state government.
The shops were demolished allegedly as part of measures to beautify the city in readiness to receive Vice President Yemi Osinbajo who is said to expected to visit the state Thursday.
Some of the traders who spoke with PREMIUM TIMES complained that the action of the state government was “nothing but wicked”, which, they said, has thrown many families into economic hardship.
“This Osinbajo visit is more of a calamity to us; they destroyed our shops and forced us out of business,” one of the traders who simply identified himself as Vandi said.
Mr. Vandi said the demolition exercise was like a dream to the traders as they always thought Governor Mohammed Jibrilla, who has a business background, would never take any measure that could be detrimental to traders engaged in legal businesses.
Commenting on the development, the chairman of the fruit sellers and vegetables association in the state, Abubakar Maidama, decried that the government did not involve the association in the demolition even if it was taken in good faith.
Mr. Maidama said the action of the government amounts to “creating social malice” because petty traders who are battling to make ends meet as a result of the present economic crunch have been thrown out of business.
“We fruit sellers believe in clean environment, but our grouse is that there was no consultation between our members and the government. So, what do you expect us do? Go to the streets and start begging to survive or take to crime to make ends meet?
“Had government consulted us, we could have join hands with them in providing solutions to the problem at hand.
“But a situation whereby government just woke up one day and start chasing our members and other petty traders forcefully from the roads without provision for an option leaves much to be desired,” Mr. Maidama said.
Another aggrieved petty trader, Abdullahi Didike accused the task force of being selective in their demolition and clearing of roadside kiosks.
Mr. Didike was of the view that if the exercise was genuine, it should go across board, not minding status or political affiliations.
“Government gave an excuse that the exercise is for the proposed visit of the Vice President Osinbajo to the state on Thursday.
Does it mean that if the vice president is visiting Adamawa, those that voted for him should be sent packing or they should be cut off from their businesses,” he asked.
Defending the government’s position, the Commissioner for Housing and Urban Development, Abubakar Magaji, said the state acted constitutionally.
Mr. Magaji said the state’s laws provide conditions that must be met by buildings situated along major roads and that drainages must be protected; thus, hinting that the demolished shops violated state laws.
He also accused the traders of dumping refuse in the recently constructed drainages and that some people had started destroying the newly constructed road networks in the state capital.
The commissioner, however, appealed to the affected traders to understand the government’s action which, he said, was made in the best interest of everybody.
He said the action had nothing to do with the vice president’s expected visit.