Hundreds of Igbo traders on Saturday protested in Zaria against the demolition of their shops and business premises by the Kaduna State Urban Development Authority (KASUPA) on account of the ongoing construction of Sabon –Gari to Samaru road.
KASUPDA had earlier gave last weekend as deadline for the traders to vacate their shops or risk having them demolished .
The traders who converged at No 1, Sokoto road to protest the Government action, said it is unfair and unjustifiable for KASUPDA to demolish their shops without recourse to lawful procedures.
Spokesman of the traders Mr. Emmanuel Mathew told said that “ We are not resisting government directives but we are challenging the manner in which KASUPDA directed that we shall vacate the area without adequate notice.’’
He said that Kaduna state government officially , issued them with a notice of re- adjustment of any building structure at the road site to three to six meters away from the main road where all the traders did to the satisfaction of project’s engineers.
“ Suddenly, KASUPDA came up with a short notice of vacation from the area entirely’’ .
“We have tried all possible best to meet the Zaria manager of KASUPDA but he refused to grant us audience, but we have already informed our Igbo s leaders, Council caretaker Chairman , District Head of Sabon Gari and we put all security agents on notice’’.
He said that traders suspected that some group within El-rufai government must have either misinformed him or he is completely ignorant of the flight of the traders on the issue.
“ Our prayer to El-rufa’I government is to stop the demolition of our shops and Business Structures hence it hasn’t affect the ongoing road work,’’ he pleaded.
He said “Igbo’s are peace loving people , law abiding citizens and contributors to nation growth as such we shall be always treated with respect not subjected to unnecessary insult and humiliation’’.
Reacting, an official of KASUPDA on condition of anonymity said“ We are working on the instruction of Governor Mallam Nasiru El-rufa’I , We have been directed to demolished the Shops and we served traders with vacation notice three weeks ago, so what are they complaining about?.’’
He said the projects supposed to be completed six month ago but because of their failure to vacate the area , the road work is stand still“ we don’t care how they view it , we must demolished all structure to allow speedy completion of the projects’’.
“ We are directed to demolished shops whether the traders pack out or not, they stand to loose all their belongings failure to comply with the our order, so it is left to them’’. The Official has warned.
Cross section of the residents interviewed cautioned government against taking any action capable of causing tension and crises. Mr Thomas Mazi, a civil servant said “We have been studying the situation, and I feel there is nothing wrong if you give the traders time to pack their property, we are in a critical financial difficulties it will be unfair to treat people badly’’.
On her part, Mrs. Halima Babangida, trader at Post Office, said“ El-Rufai should have a listening ear, should be consider and intervene in this matter so that other people should not cheated’’.
The spokesman of the Kaduna state Governor, Mr Samuel Aruwa, not pick calls put through by for confirmation.