Some policemen on Monday dispersed traders at the Kasuwan Barci market in the Tudun Wada area of Kaduna State who staged a protest, calling on Governor Nasir El-Rufai to obey a court order.
The order was to compel the governor to pay them compensation for demolishing their shops in the market. A Kaduna State High Court had ordered the state government that each of the shop owners in Kasuwan Barci be compensated and reinstated back to the market.
Hence, the shop owners are protesting against the state government calling it to respect the constituted authority and obey the court order.
However, the armed policemen who arrived in the market swooped on the harmless traders, telling them there was an order from above to stop the protest. A trader who spoke to journalists said “Some officers and men of the police force who were at the scene of the protest immediately dispersed the shop owners from addressing their members and the journalists.
“They pulled down all the canopies arranged for the event along Kasuwan Barci axis of Dutsima road, Tudun Wada.” The situation led to a violent clash with the operatives of the Kaduna State Vigilante Service (KADVIS), who had earlier given security cover to the traders.
The police resorted to tear-gassing the crowd in a show of superiority, but a few hours later, the shop owners were able to regroup and address the press.
It may be recalled that the court had on the 28th September 2022 given judgment in favour of the Plaintiffs (shop owners), instructing the Kaduna State government that the shop owners be adequately compensated. The state government took over the market and subsequently demolished the old structure of the market sometimes in March, 2020, while about 4,600 shop owners were affected.
The traders of the Kasuwan Barci and Raga markets all within the Kaduna metropolis being dissatisfied by the action of the state government approached the court to interpret the extent of the powers of the state government over the markets.
However, the presiding judge, Justice A. Edward Andow, in his judgement said that the Kaduna State government lacked the constitutional powers to unilaterally takeover the Kasuwan Barci market in the way and manner it did.
“The Kaduna State government is in breach of the constitutional provision vesting the creation and operation of the markets in the local governments by usurping and arrogating to itself the clear powers and function of the local government,” the court ruling stated.
The Chairman of the shop owners, Alhaji Abdullahi Maikano Kaya-kaya, said that after receiving the vacation notice, the shop owners sought audience with the state Governor which was granted but, they could not reach any agreement
He said they pleaded with the governor to either allow them to build the shops themselves by using the authorised government’s building plan or give them another space to relocate.
“As shop owners, up until the Kasuwan bacci market was demolished, we were up to date with revenue payment. Kasuwan bacci is a market that is fully managed by shop owners because all the shops in the market were built by individuals unlike the other markets like; Abubakar Gumi and Veterinary markets that were built and leased out by the state government.
“Our expectation of government was that, since she is aware that we built our shops ourselves on the land given to us by the government, they should have either relocated the market or adequately compensated us but instead, they ignored us and went ahead to demolish the shops.
“It is our prayer that Kaduna state government will respect this judgment by reinstating us back into the market and compensate us accordingly, especially because, many shop owners have died, some are sick, while a few have relocated to other towns due to the demolition,” Alhaji Kaya-Kaya had said.
- Copyright Sahara Reporters