By Umar Bakari, Maiduguri
For the majority of the victims of the 26th February Maiduguri Monday Market fire disaster, having nowhere to perch to restart their trading life is as traumatic as losing everything to the fire.
Soon after the incident, traders who lost fortunes to the fire were already getting worried about locations to relocate to pick up trading not only to facilitate their fast recovery from the attendant grief and trauma but to keep on sustaining their families.
Consequently, many of these victims scattered to locations in the vicinity of the razed market to pick up the pieces of their trading lives.
Alhaji Shettima Mustapha, a victim, who is also the vice chairman of B1 shops of the burnt market, said traders had to hang around the available spaces before the government completes the reconstruction of the market.
“For now, what concerns us the most is keeping our businesses running at any available location; we can’t wait until the government finishes rebuilding the market,” he said.
Alhaji Abubakar Abdullahi, another victim, said they would have relocated to a temporary site previously allocated to traders who had been relocated from the roadside around the Market during a dualization project three months ago.
However, before the 26th February Monday Market fire disaster, those temporary locations got occupied by many squatter traders. This situation compounded the difficulties of the victims by squeezing them into every available location around to restart trading.
The Monday Market fire victims are, therefore, left with no other option than to engage in heated competition for shelter at an adjacent location called Russia Market, where traders displaced from elsewhere by similar circumstances were relocated
Russia Market had, before the arrival of the traumatized Monday Market traders, been occupied by over 200 traders from elsewhere.
Baba Gana Modu Ali, alias Kwa-Modu, told Daily Platform that due to the influx of Monday Market traders, the rental prices in Russia Market have skyrocketed from 15,000 naira to 70,000 naira.
Amidst the hike in rental prices for stalls, the aggrieved Monday Market traders are facing the threat of the revocation of their licences for their new trading locations from the revenue services in the Market.
It could be recalled that His Excellency Prof. Babagana Umara Zulum the governor of Borno State has approved a billion naira to rebuild the market as soon as possible.
The reconstruction is still ongoing, and it is expected that before this Ramadan, which is 10 days away, the work will be completed.