The Federal Capital Territory Minister, Musa Bello, has pledged to provide succour to Bwari Market traders whose property were destroyed during a crisis on Christmas day.
The minister, who was represented by Adamu Bappa, the Mandate Secretary of the Area Council Service of the FCT Administration, gave the assurance on Wednesday in Abuja when he visited the area.
Inspecting the market, Mr Bello promised the traders that the administration would assist them in resuming commercial activities.
“The incident is quite unfortunate. We assure you that the FCT administration is collaborating with the Bwari Area Council to ensure that proper assessment of the losses are made and recorded.
“We have set up a committee to look into the crisis and I assure you that both relief materials and further compensation will come your way appropriately.
“However, it is necessary for all of you to evacuate the market for now and relocate to the temporary site as provided by the council so that proper assessment of the market can be carried out.
“This is to give us proper account of number of shops, stalls and stands affected as well as assess the market for reconstruction,” he said.
The minister expressed delight that normalcy was gradually returning to the town, adding that security agents would remain in the community until peace was finally restored.
On the issue of curfew, Mr Bello said that it would be relaxed based on security report.
“They are the ones that will advise us on whether it should be relaxed or not following what they have seen and the information they were able to gather.
“For those who work in the main city and are unable to return to Bwari before the curfew, I would advise that they tender their identity cards at the check points to ascertain they are genuinely coming from work,” he warned.
The minister urged the residents to remain calm and cooperate with security agencies in their bid to restore peace and order.
In his remarks, the Chairman of the council, Musa Dikko reiterated the council’s commitment towards ensuring that peace was restored, saying that security of lives and properties remain paramount.
Mr Dikko thanked all stakeholders for their support to the council since the incident and promised that the council, in collaboration with other government agencies, would compensate the victims.
The compensation, he said, would be given to all those whose shops and stalls were completely razed down in the market and others on the streets of the town.
The chairman also assured the traders that commercial activities in the town would pick up soonest, while appealing to them to patiently relocate to the temporary site to allow for proper assessment.
Earlier, Cynthia Igwe, Secretary of the Bwari Market Traders Association, appealed to the government to extend the period given to them to evacuate the market.
According to her, the traders, who are still counting their losses in grief would need more time to gather the remains of their produce as well as make profit out of what is left to sell.
“This is our only means of livelihood; we need to sell to meet the needs of our families.
“Please, let us just take more time to sell before we move because it has not and it will not be easy for us to start all over in the new place,” she said.
She appealed to the government to come to their aid with some relief materials because most of them had nothing to cater for their families.