Shagari Low-cost Housing in Maiduguri has become notorious for the nefarious activities going on in the Kasuwan Fara area. Daily Trust visited the area and reports.
The recent killing of a timber merchant at Kasuwan Fara led to hundreds of residents pouring out into the street to demand the immediate closure of the market.
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Described as a den of immorality, Kasuwan Fara is known to be a safe haven for drug peddlers, drug addicts, prostitution, including underage commercial sex workers as well as other despicable activities.
Residents expressed fear and concern over the growth of these vices in their neighbourhood, which is not only harmful to their children but also alien to the culture and traditions of the people.
Daily Trust gathered from residents that sometime in 2017, the state government shut down the place but later reopened it.
They described their situation as helpless and called on Governor Babagana Zulum to do the needful by demolishing the entire area because of the open buying and selling of illicit drugs that is prevalent there.
A civil servant, Mukhtar Ahamad, said they have complained severally to the authorities about the unholy activities taking place in Kasuwan Fara but nothing has been done about it, rather things are getting worse on daily basis.
“The recent killing of the vice-chairman Timber Seller Associations of Borno State, Mr Aga City, is one of such incidents that we witness here from time to time.
“I have been to several places in this country yet I have never seen a place like Kasuwan Fara. It is unbelievable that these types of unholy and ungodly activities are going on here unchecked.
“Many people who have houses here put them up for rent and relocated to other parts of the city just because of the level of criminality here.
“Shooting of guns by uniform men after getting drunk is not new to us, we’ve gotten used to it.
“Despite our complaints, nothing has been done by the people saddled with this responsibility. If I have the money today, I will also leave this place.
“Two of my daughters are staying with my grandmother just because I don’t want them to grow up here,” he said.
Residents alleged that some uniformed men connive with the miscreants who perpetrate these crimes and also give them cover, which is why it is difficult to do away with them or demolish the place.
Apart from shops erected by some individuals who rented them out, there are large numbers of makeshift structures that commercial sex workers use for their unholy business.
A resident Luka Bello, who said they can no longer sleep with their two eyes closed, expressed concern over the surge in criminal activities in Kasuwan Fara and low-cost areas.
“The kind of things we experience every day here is heart-wrenching. Underage children (boys and girls) indulge in taking illicit drugs and they don’t hide it. It is that bad!
“Once it is evening, they would converge here in large numbers with all kinds of weird dressing, smoking and drinking, and showcasing unprintable acts here in broad daylight. There is no shame anymore.
“The most painful is that many uniformed men are the culprit because they patronise this place. You dare not look at them, some of us avoid the area when it is their peak time.
“Please tell me, how can we sleep with our two eyes closed as responsible parents? this should not be allowed to go on in an ideal society.
“Our concerns are our children; we don’t want them to mimic this kind of lifestyle because children learn fast from their environment. The rate of prostitution taking place in this Kasuwan Fara is alarming. How can we continue like this?”
A mother of three, Hannatu Abraham, lamented that despite the claim that the Borno State government had closed the Kasuwan Fara, surprisingly, the market is fully functional and various ungodly activities going on.
She urged the Borno State governor, Prof Babagana Zulum, to take decisive action that would be a permanent solution to the harmful activities endangering the lives of their children in Shagari low-cost.
“As a father, we are begging you our governor to please save our souls from these criminal activities at Low-cost. I want to bring it to your notice that the future of children is in danger because of what is happening in our area. Please, help us close down Kasuwan Fara permanently,” Hannatu begged.
The State Commandant of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Mr Icha Joseph, pointed out that they have conducted several joint raids and many peddlers have been arrested, not in Kasuwan Fara but across the state capital where criminal activities are believed to be high.
He explained that this year alone, three raids have been carried out in Kasuwan Fara and its environs, leading to scores of people being arrested and dozens in prisons. He noted that they are currently working with other security agencies to stamp out the vices, saying drugs have been major challenges facing the youths, not in Borno alone but the entire country.
“We are working tirelessly with other security agencies to ensure the state is free of drugs and other vices; we have conducted several raids, arrested many drug peddlers, and those taking the drugs. Scores are currently in prison and many others are in court facing charges against them.
“We known the dangers of indulging in drugs, we won’t allow them to continue to supply these substances. Our team remains resolute to fight the drugs peddlers and others.
“Like I said, we are working with the 7 Division of Nigeria Army, Police and NSCDC to patrol the danger zones. Kasuwan Fara is one of those places and the Borno State government is up and doing in terms of support to fight these criminal elements. We are warning the youth to desist from things that destroy their future,” Icha said.