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28 years after, Abaji main market still in state of disrepair

For these reasons, governments at both state and local levels, establish a revenue unit, department or taskforce team, whose main responsibility is to collect taxes…

For these reasons, governments at both state and local levels, establish a revenue unit, department or taskforce team, whose main responsibility is to collect taxes from traders at the market and issue receipt to them accordingly.
This source of revenue is, of course, in addition to other sources through which governments can generate money, since the country is blessed with several natural resources; for example coal, iron-ore, timber, oil, cocoa, rubber and marble, while different economic activities also go on.
However, in many cities, where there are large markets, government pays priority attention to them because of the substantial revenue realised. Such monies are used to provide amenities and infrastructures for the people.
Yet, in some cases, and places, too, markets are neglected despite the amount that can be realised from them as revenue.
One of such neglected markets is the Abaji main market, built and became functional in 1986, by the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA), under the former FCT minister, Air Vice Marshal HamzaAbdullahi.
The Abaji market (known now as Tsohuwar Kasuwa) was initially located along Abaji-Toto road, on the outskirts of the town, where full business activities used to take place every fifth day, before its relocation.
But today, the Abaji main market is an eyesore, as all the shops, roof and some structures of the building have collapsed, while erosion has taken over the whole market due to what residents of the council described as neglect by successive administrations in the area.
But, successive administrations, on the other hand, have always complained about dwindling monthly allocation accruing to the council from the federation account for them to be able to maintain the market. Most of the past chairmen at many fora, had regretted this development.
Aso Chronicle, however, learnt that virtually all successive administrations have never bothered to rehabilitate the market in order to bring it to a befitting standard since the market is among the best revenue generation sources for the council.  
It was, however, gathered that the market because of its strategic location, attracts many traders from neighbouring Kogi, Nasarawa, Edo and Niger states, who come every fifth day to buy things, especially farm produce.
Our reporter also learnt that the immediate past administration of the council, under the leadership of Alhaji Musa  Yahaya Muhammed, made an attempt to rehabilitate the entire market, but work stopped almost as soon as it started.
Speaking to Aso Chronicle, the Sarkin Kasuwa of Abaji, Alhaji Adamu Okpaki, noted that the Abaji main market built under the administration of one time chairman of the council, Alhaji Abubakar Ibrahim (DM) in 1986, is now on the verge of collapse.
He said many traders display their wares outside due to the dilapidated facilities of the market, while other traders erect makeshift shops to display their wares.
“Any time it rains, one hardly gets a place to stay because all the roofs of the market are leaking,” he said.
He explained that substantial amount of money is realised every five days at the market, wondering why the government is yet to carry out rehabilitation work on the market.   
“I can remember that it was the previous administration of the council that attempted to carry out rehabilitation work on the market, but the work stopped without any tangible the reason till today,” he said.
A trader at the market, Yahaya AbdulMalik, told Aso Chronicle that council officials, two years ago, pulled down illegal structures erected inside the market and since then most traders do display their wares and other items on the floor.
He called on the council authorities to intensify effort in building a more befitting market in order to earn more revenue for the council.
“It baffles me whenever the council chairman complaints of dwindling monthly allocations and he allows this market to look like this for over 28 years without rehabilitation,” he said.        
Also speaking to Aso Chronicle on the deplorable state of the market, Malam Hassan Liman, another trader, said the market is the only source of revenue generation for the council, but regretted that no successive administration had bothered to   repair the market.
According to him, since the market was fenced under the administration of the former chairman of the council, Alhaji Ibrahim Abubakar, there has not been any new work carried out on the market since 1986.
“As you can see, erosion has taken over the market, while almost all shops have collapsed and no administration has deemed it fit to rebuild or carry out some minor renovation on it, or even involved any private concern, like the Gwagwalada Area Council did,” he said.
He noted that there is need for the council authorities to, as a matter of concern and urgency, embark on rehabilitation of the market since it is the only source of revenue generation for the council.
“The Kaduna main market which was built in 1975, during the administration of Abba Kyari, is still being maintained up till today, and that is because of the revenue the state government or local government is realising from it. So there is need for the council to also summon courage and do the same,” he reasoned.
He noted that since the market is located at a strategic place and attracts traders from neighbouring Niger, Kogi, Nasarawa and Edo states, it would go a long way in boosting business activities in the area, if the market is modernised.
“And you should also note that Abaji market is where people from communities such as Umaisha, Koton-Karfe, Rubochi, Kpada, Toto, Gadabuke, Kwaita  and other business women who come from the east and west used to buy farm produce,” he added.
Reacting, Chairman of the council, Alhaji Yahaya Garba Gawu, said the council is also worried about the bad state of the market.
He noted that the previous administration had intensified efforts at carrying out some renovation work on the market but erosion has destroyed the work.
The council boss noted that since the market is the only source of revenue generation, the council will renovate the market next year to bring it to a befitting standard.
“Alternatively, the council may go into Public Private Partnership (PPP), under the build and transfer policy, just like the Gwagwalada Area Council has done, so that the market will come to life since it is the major source of revenue for the council,” he said.

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