Traders in Kano State, the commercial centre of northern Nigeria, are ruing the ongoing demolition exercise in the city, saying that it has created a hostile business environment in the state that is forcing many of their customers from within and outside the country to stay away.
Kano State Governor Abba Yusuf ordered the demolition of certain properties across Kano Metropolis, which he claimed the immediate past government sold illegally.
The traders also claimed that apart from the demolition exercise, the widespread looting of business centres and building believed to be marked for demolition, has made many customers apprehensive of coming to the city to do business.
Sharif Nata’ala, a market union leader in the Kofar Wambai Market, told BBC Hausa service that business activities have stalled since the start of the demolition exercise and customers coming from Niger Republic, Cameroon and Chad have stopped coming to the state over the fear that their properties might be looted.
Mr Nata’ala said the major parking space for trucks and other vehicles for the traders in the Kofar Mata area was demolished and the area is no longer secure as looters are on the rampage vandalising shops and looting properties.
“Before the incident, you will see our customers from Niger Republic, Cameroon, and Chad with trailers but since they started the demolition no single customer came and bought materials from us again.
“After the demolition at the ‘Kofar Mata’ Eid ground, looters crossed over to our shops, broke many of them, looted properties and goods,” Mr Nata’ala lamented.
He said traders in the area have lost almost N1 billion to looters and their customers are being attacked by looters.
“The government started the demolition overnight without prior notification, which would have enabled us to secure our belongings and that has been giving us a sleepless night,” Mr Nata’ala said.
The demolition exercise has resulted in the massive looting of properties by a mob who invaded and looted properties in the demolition sites and areas they are anticipation of an alleged plan by the state government to demolish the building.
The governor’s spokesperson, Sanusi Bature, said his principal has ordered the police to clamp down on miscreants looting people’s properties at the demolition sites.
“The police have arrested at least 106 looters of properties at the demolition sites and measures are in place to protect people’s properties.
“Also, property owners are being given prior notice to evaluate their valuables before the commencement of the demolition exercise,” Mr Bature said.
Some of the properties demolished include a three-storey building with 90 shops on a race course at the Nasarawa GRA. Daula Hotel is a three-star hotel reconstructed by the Ganduje administration under a Private Public Partnership arrangement.
The government also demolished another structure, at Hajj Camp, sold to private individuals by the immediate past administration of the state and shops erected at parts of the Kofar Mata, Eid prayer ground.
The owners of the demolished properties have vowed to sue the Kano government over the alleged unlawful demolition of their properties.
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