Business Owners Blame Bauchi Govt for Destroying Livelihoods

Business owners in Bauchi Metropolis have blamed Bauchi State government for destroying their means of livelihoods.

Bauchi has recently demolished some small business structures in some locations in the state capital.

The businesspeople also decried that the government refused to relocate them or give them sufficient notice.

WikkiTimes observes that the petty businesses that have suffered the destruction were located at different locations in the state capital.

Some of the areas affected include Gwallemaji, Yelwan Tudun, Adamu Jumba, Bauchi Club, GRA, Wunti Market, Murtala Mohammed Way, and Ahmadu Bello Way.

Some of the affected people told WikkiTimes that they are frustrated because the state government demolished their container shops without providing enough notice, relocation or compensation.

Elizabeth Falobu told WikkiTimes that she maintained her shop for three years before the sudden demolition.

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“I purchased this space from Sarki Yarma in Gwallemaji community. I work tirelessly every day to provide for myself and my family. Despite my business seeing less patronage when students are not in session, I now face uncertainty. I have been asked to vacate my source of income without any compensation or active relocation plan,” Elizabeth lamented.

With a 48-hour notice to vacate, Elizabeth said, she is now having a difficult economic situation.

WikkiTimes reporter observes that some business owners defied the odds to market their wares in the scorching sun.

My friend dead

Mr. Jamilu Hamza, who has been in business for the past seven years, voiced his deep frustration about the recent government policy.

 “This is the first time I have faced something like this,” said Jamilu Hamza, adding angrily “If the government no longer wants us in the city, they should inform us and allow us to return to our villages. Where can we get a shop in under 48 hours?”

Hamza recounted that his neighbour’s death may not be unconnected to the plight of their businesses.

“Last week, my neighbor collapsed and died on issues related to this container demolition. He had taken a large loan for his one-year-old business. Now, with the news of the demolition, he could not meet his monthly financial obligations to his lenders. Unfortunately, this situation contributed to his death,” he narrated.

Hamza admitted that government should use land for development but argued that peoples’ right and means of livelihood should not be jeopardized.

Traders Face Tough Times

In Bauchi, like other states, Nigerians are going through tough economic situation that is aggravated by high inflation.

The demolition has left most of the affected people in dire situation as their shops remain their major means of survival.

A point of sale (POS) operator, James Anthony, said since the incident life has become tough as earnings depleted. He also decried security threat in the area because his business involves holding raw cash.

“Only a few people visit the open space where I now operate under an umbrella due to security concerns in the community,” Anthony said.

Another victim, Roseline Hashimu, spotted selling snacks and kunu zaki under the scorching sun, lamented that she faces low patronage and persistent theft. “Some days I return to find my items missing from my wooden table by the roadside.”

Open-Air Spaces to the Rescue

Some food vendors who lost their shops have now embraced open-air spaces as alternative.

Mrs. Blessing Kure told WikkiTimes that herself and many food sellers have to adapt to survive the situation.

“I used to sell food here for over 20 years. With this business, I to take care of my children’s education. When the government issued an eviction notice to container owners, I assumed I would be exempted since my setup was a wooden shelter for my customers and not a container. However, I was also instructed to dismantle my structure,” Blessing said.

“I had to go back to my old spot and use an umbrella for cover, but the market is getting worse every day. Just look at this pot; I have been here since 9:00 am and not a single person has bought anything. My customers complain that they don’t like eating outside,” she added.

Land Prices Soar

As they struggle to find alternatives, the traders decry that private landowners have significantly increased prices.

“The sudden eviction of container shop owners has created a lucrative market for land owners nearby. It is brutally expensive,” said Bolaji Ade.

Ade, who lost his business location, noted that certain landowners are exploiting their circumstances.

“They demand a N200,000 for just a small space for my container. And there’s no room for negotiation. You are forced to pay because it’s competitive; if you delay, someone else will rent it,” he said.

It’s in their interest, they’ll be relocated – Bauchi Government

The Bauchi government has justified the demolition of shops in the affected areas and argued that it is reinstating Bauchi’s master plan.

The Commissioner for Housing and Environment, Danlami Kawule, said that the unauthorized containers are placed in risky traffic spots which often causes accidents.

Kawule added that they occupy spaces meant for public use and the city’s beautification. He revealed that the project aims not to displace the people but to ensure traders can operate their businesses smoothly.

Similarly, Commissioner for Land and Survey, Maryam Katagum, stated that the displaced traders would be moved to a new site.

“The government has allocated land in key areas for the creation of shop clusters and the business community”, Katagum said.

She denied that the government is targeting to displace residents from their business locations.

She added that Government is dedicated to transforming Bauchi State into a major hub in the region and beyond.

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