By Muhammad Sani Suleiman
The process of re-development of Kasuwar Bacci and other markets started sometimes around October 2016, with the Kaduna State Government inviting all relevant Stakeholders to dicuss and map out strategies to carry out a successful hitch-free re-development. Particularly, the leadership of Kasuwar Bacci were invited by the Kaduna Investment Promotion Agency (KADIPA) to amongst other things discuss issues of:
- Relocations to temporary site
- Suitable financing option
- Ascertainng the number of shop owners and ensuring that no legitimate shop owner is left out.
Right from the on set, the market Union leadership expressed their distain and vehemently objected to the idea without even considering the benefits of the exercise.
Nevertheless, the Government continued engaging them almost weekly with the view to ensure that everyone is carried alobg and understands what the whole procees is all about. It is instructive to note that the only vehicle of reaching out to the traders is through their elected representatives, which is the market union, as it is practically impossible to engage all the traders individually.
At some point during the meetings, issues were raised; and the government asked the leadership of the market to present their grievances and their fears, which they itemized as follows:-
- That their shops will not be given back to them after the re-development.
- That they don’t have a place to do business pending the completion of the re- development.
- That the prices of the newly developed market will be “out of reach” of ordinary traders as many of them are petty traders and cannot afford it.
To answer and address the above fears, the government made it categorically clear that:-
- That the goverment is signing on M.O.U with the leadership of the traders affirming that every trader in the market will be given back his shop and/ or will be given the right of first refusal to the shop except where the trader did not signify intention to take it.
- The government secured a temporary relocation sites laying along Unguwar Mu’azu – Zango Road, and another one at Kurmin Mashi, and the developer was directed to provide temporary structures for them free of charge which includes facilities like toilets and mosques that will be used by the traders and other market users.
- On the issue of pricing, the government, further assured them that the prices are going to be competitive and affordable and the government will secure a mortgage option for the traders with single digit interest rate to finance their ownership of the shops. Repayment can be re-structured in 5-7 years after the initial deposit of just 10%.
The government further committed that immediately after the payment of the initial 10% no trader will henceforth pay the normal rents that they pay. The only fee payable is the “Service charge” which covers electricity, water, sanitations and security of the market, which of course they still pay even before the-redevelopment plan.
All the above incentives and offers were rejected by the leadership of the traders union. At a point in time they politicized the whole exercise and involved the former senator representing Kaduna Central who instigated them to protest and to further reject all offers and entreaties by the government.
Sometimes in 2017, the leadership instituted an action at the Kaduna High Court challenging the powers of the State government to re-develop the market.The litigations stalled the processes of further negotiations and discussions as the leaders always turned down any invitation for a meeting to discuss and resolve issues.
And in the exercise of its powers confered on it by the law, the Kaduna State Urban Planning and Development Authority(KASUPDA) on the 6th March, 2020, issued the traders a Quit Notice giving them 3 days as an extention of the earlier notice given in 2016 to remove all their valuable and vacate the site.
The development of the markets is a component of the Kaduna Urban Renewal Programme which cannot be compromised by the government either through blackmail, intimidation or negative media compaigns.
We must all understand that the present Kasuwar Bacci Market constitutes a danger and harzard to the traders and other market users as the structures there did not conform or comply with the relevant town plannng laws and regulations(a visit to the market will show you how upstairs shops are individually constructed without any planning or adherence to engineering standards)
While the KMDMC has the mandate to develop and manage all markets in the State, KASUPDA equally has mandate to ensure that these markets comply and conform to all relevant town planing laws and regulations including other environmental laws in force.
On the issue of Database of the traders as rightly asked above, we have the records of the existing traders from the local government revenue records but we are embarking on another round of biometric registration starting next week to ascertain the actual owners of the shops, we could have done that for long but for the resistance from the leadership of the market.
At the moment we held series of meetings this week with the leadership and they are now willing to cooperate and provide all necessary information needed for the smooth exercise.