Traders in the popular IBB Central Market in Suleja LGA of Niger State have protested against alleged exploitation by authorities.
The protesters alleged that the local council authority had planned to expand some structures within the already congested market which they believed would endanger the lives of traders, adding that newly introduced levies and taxes would undermine the progress of their socio-economic activities.
A trader, Obilly Nwaeze, said all efforts to have a roundtable with the authorities had been frustrated by some elements who threatened to deal with them several times.
He said, “If there are plans to remodel the market or any form of expansion, the traders should be carried along, but in this case they are not telling us anything than asking us to pay different sums of money and marking our shops for demolition under flimsy excuses.
“We have been asked to pay N1.2m each for each shop so that it can be raised to an upstairs, but later they reduced it to N800,000, but they refused to tell us what the money is for. They also demanded that we pay another N10,000 non-refundable for forms.”
The chairman of the council could not be reached on phone, but his spokesman, Haruna Garba Kaniko, said the authorities were not aware of the N1.2m and other levies being demanded from each of the traders or shop owners for expansion purposes.
He explained that the planned demolition and expansion in the market was meant for safety, adding however that, “We want the shops along the link roads to be upgraded to upstairs.”