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Traders determined to move on after Bwari market attacks

NAN

Some traders in Bwari town, Federal Capital Territory (FCT), on Thursday, January 25, said that they are determined to move on with their businesses even after counting their losses.

The traders spoke in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja, following the Dec. 25, 2017 crisis, when a suspected group of cultists attacked some residents and burnt the market.

They formed barricades and burnt car tyres at the town’s major junctions, depriving commuters and motorists from using the roads for few hours.

Bwari town market was razed by the perpetrators, including some shops on the streets, NAN reports.

One of the shop owners, Madam Ugo Amos, told NAN that her shop where she sold second-hand bags was burnt.

She said when she came back from the Christmas break to find out that there was nothing to salvage from the destruction.

However, she said that the unfortunate incident would not deter her struggle for survival.

‘‘I was not in town when it happened; I travelled with my family for the Christmas and left my shop full of stock, which my supplier brought before I travelled.

‘‘I did not remove a pin from my shop but here I am, starting all over again with my little savings and the assistance I got from my husband.

‘‘I am already used to going out every day for my business.

‘‘I cannot continue to stay at home and expect my husband to give me money for even the little thing I need.

‘‘It is not in my nature; I am used to struggling to survive on my own, more so, if I remain at home, the thought of what I lost would just kill me one day.

‘‘After all, mine is small compared to others; my neighbour used to sell baby things and she had four shops of baby accessories in the market, all got burnt and she didn’t kill herself.

‘‘We would continue to do our best in life and leave everything we cannot do in God’s hands, He would bless the little in our hands, after all, life itself is a risk.’’

Amos said that she was unable to write her name down for possible government compensation when the committee from the Bwari Area Council came down to register shop owners in the market.

This, she said was because it happened before she returned and all efforts to reconcile her name and shop through the Chairman of the market association proved abortive.

She, however, said that she would remain positive in her dealings.

Another trader, Mr Elgius Ugochukwu, a provision store owner, said that if government is able to render its assistance as promised, it would go a long way to alleviate the sufferings the traders were passing through.

He, however, said that whether or not the assistance comes, some of the traders would not be discouraged, adding that the issue of relocating to the new market site remains secondary.

‘‘Like me now, I used what I was able to save earlier to start this shop you are looking at now. It was not easy but life must go on.

‘‘If eventually government decides to compensate us, fine and good, it would help expand the shop again.

‘‘For now, we cannot relocate to the new site because some of us cannot even locate our space there and those who could are complaining that the space is too small for them.

‘‘Most importantly, people are not relocating because they have not seen any assistance from government; believe me, if we are compensated a little, people would relocate to that site.’’

Similarly, Malam Mohammed Maikawu, a grain dealer, said that he was hopeful that government would offer some compensation.

He said that he was able to buy a bag of rice, beans, sorghum and maize each, so that he starts afresh, stressing that the unfortunate incident was not the end of his life.

The FCT Minister, Malam Musa Bello, has assured traders in the market of its plans to provide succour to those who lost shops and properties during the crisis.

The ad-hoc committee set up to assess and collate data on the damages incurred during the crisis submitted its report to the Chairman, Bwari Area Council, Mr Musa Dikko in Abuja on Tuesday, NAN reports.

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Tokunbo David
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