Motorist and other users of the Sokoto Central Motor park, are now having a new lease of life following some modifications and reconstruction going on by the park’s management.
New shops are being constructed within the motor park while a commercial parking space is in place with trees planted to beautify the surrounding.
The exercise also led to the demolishing of a slum popularly known as ‘Lagos’ at the eastern part of the park.
“The exercise got rid of a ghetto portion of the motor park called LAGOS which was criminal hideout and where prostitution and drug abuse were being carried out even during day time without regards to law,” a commercial driver disclosed.
Director–General Sokoto Central Market Alhaji Ahmad Rufa’i who also manages the motor park, said the demolition exercise affected some shop owners, some of whom he said are legally registered with the market authority.
“After the demolition exercise, the motor park was given a facelift and all legal owners of structures were verified and their structures returned to them.
He revealed that the large expanse of land where the slum was situated, was officially allocated to a transport agency AZAWAD TRANSPORT which runs a special service for travellers going to ECOWAS
countries such as Burkina Faso, Senegal, Ghana, Benin, and Niger Republic.
Some of other new developments include centralized transportation system whereby satellite motor parks, which were operating outside, were relocated into the central motor park. They are, Kofar Doya, Kofar Gawo, Kofar Kalambaina, Kofar Gabas and Tashar Kyame satellite motor parks.
However, to decongest the motor park and give room for free movement of people and vehicles, Alhaji Ahmad disclosed that the trailer section would be moved out of the park to a satellite motor park along Sokoto-Gusau road.
The Director General said the management was considering reviewing all levies being paid by shop owners and other people who transact business in the motors park.
Vehicles going into the motor park to drop passengers are paying between N50 to N100 while shop owners pay a monthly levy of N500.
On security, he said a combined team of Police, Sokoto Marshal, Civil Defence personnel work in accord to ensure the motor park is secured.
“There is adequate security put in place safeguarding people and properties. The police outpost attached to the central market is doing well in securing the market and park” he asserted.
Many users interviewed attested to improved security services as well as more parking areas at the park.
A shop owner, Yahaya Ibrahim with over 20 years stays in the park, expressed joy on the improved security within.” Before, area boys come and just loot our wares and even harassed us, now we don’t have that kind of situation.”
A bread seller Mrs. Akin said the authority has done a commendable job in demolishing the “Lagos” part of the station which she recalled housed thieves and prostitutes.
However, she pointed out: “It is still congested on Saturdays and Mondays when traders come from various Local government areas.”
She said the motor park was good for her business. ”I always sell all my wares at the end of the day. I sell a lot in the afternoons and evenings when more passengers come to the park to commute to their respective places.”
Mrs. Akin added:”When the authority relocates the trailer section, we
are going to enjoy maximum space even on Saturdays and Mondays.”
A welder Basiru Musa 26 said he had been in the park for over 15years, and was pleased with the current effort being made in to keep the motor park clean and safe.
“Before, there were thieves all around the park who vandalized our properties and resided in a remote part of the park called ‘Lagos’.
The demolition of ‘Lagos’ has brought about relative peace and security in the park as well as passengers on transit and those of us who operate businesses within.”
Also commenting, Alhaji Aliyu Bashir who owns a shop at the park said “the motor park is now safe and crime free with frequent physical changes being put in place.”
The trader, who commended the state government for sanitizing the hitherto chaotic park, said he looked forward to more plans to make it even better.
“We do not mind the levies placed on us since we know that our properties are safe,’ he declared.
On the established standard ECOWAS Transport Terminus at the site of the former slum area called Lagos, many people commended the initiative calling for regular maintenance of the place.
A traveller Mouhammadou Tonou going to Zinder in Niger republic applauded how services are conducted there.
“Passengers are well treated, and there are adequate facilities like toilets and water at the place,” he observed.