The traders lament the lack of funds to rent shops.
About six weeks after twin explosions at the Terminus Market killed about 200 people, hawkers and street trades have returned to the market.
The street traders operating at the market, also called Jos Main Market, ignored the Plateau State government and the governor, Jonah Jang, who banned hawking at the market and threatened to forcefully relocate all streets traders and hawkers within Jos, in the aftermath of the explosion.
The government had blamed the hawkers and street traders for the porous security situation at the market which led to the May 20 explosion.
Mr. Jang issued the threat on his visit to the explosion site four days after the explosions which killed close to 200 people and injured about 85 others.
The governor ordered that the terminus market be closed and asked the traders to move to government approved markets or be sanctioned.
The section of the Terminus Market, Murtala Way, where the explosions occurred, has remained closed. The street traders, however, have since moved to the next street in the market, Ahmad Bello Way, which is a very short distance from the scene of the explosion.
A street trader, Ann John, who sells foodstuff, told PREMIUM TIMES she had no alternative location for her business.
“Where does the governor want us to go and trade? The Rukuba Market he is asking us to go to will not contain all of us. Even if it does and the shops are enough not all of us have the money to rent shops,” she said.
Lamenting that her business was what kept her family going as her husband was a plumber, she begged the governor to consider the street traders plight and allow them remain at their present location.
Another hawker, Salisu Adamu, who deals in second-hand clothes, said, “I am not happy selling on the streets, but I have to survive. I was selling at Murtala Way, but since government stopped us there, I came here to sell. This is the only way I manage to feed my family. I have a wife and four children. My mother and two of my younger ones still depend on me through this business. So my coming back here on the street is for survival; not that we ignored government’s order.”
However, Mr. Jang, on Tuesday, after an inspection tour of road projects, reiterated his resolve to demolish all open market places in the state not approved by his government.
“Let me again warn that people who are moving from place to place, constituting illegal markets, (they) will soon be fined. We have constituted a mobile court which shall try them. Should anyone be found wanting, they will be jailed,” the governor said.
The governor also stated that houses built on water channels would not be spared.
“I have just given instructions to the Commissioner of Urban Development and that of Works to demolish all houses build on water ways. I am sure those buildings do not have certified documents, but if we find out that they do, we must verify who certified such documents, considering the locations of the buildings, and such persons must be punished accordingly, because those sites are not fit for housing, particularly residential homes,” he said.