On Thursday, 26 January, Kano business and commercial community witnessed a boost. It was the groundbreaking ceremony of 4, 182 lock-shops for low-profile traders at the famous Kantin Kwari International Textile Market to be constructed at the cost of N5 billion. The crowd that trailed Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje and the Emir of Kano, Malam Muhammad Sanusi 11, was unprecedented. It was in no form or manner a rented crowd as people—both the rich and the poor dragged space, surging through the Ibrahim Taiwo Road via Unity Road into Kantin Kwari where members of Yan Tebura Kantin Kwari Market Association (a body of owners of make-shift shops) gathered in their thousands to appreciate the initiative by the Ganduje administration to make them shop owners.
It could be recalled, however, that before this time when the make-shift shop owners were asked to vacate their shops, the misconstrued the idea and took their grievances to the Emir of Kano, believing that government wanted to destroy their means of livelihood. The Emir in his wisdom constituted a community which took their grievances to the Government House. And Ganduje, being a listening administrator took time to discuss with, stakeholders and traders, armed with potent reasons why the Kantin Kwari international textile market should be given a face-lift—and they concurred.
No wonder the chairman of the market association, Malam Aminu Kawu was full of praises to Ganduje when he spoke at the event, attesting to the fact that no governor in the history of Kano state has taking steps to remember the plights of owners of make-shift shops who suffer huge losses during rainy seasons and other eventual disasters in the famous market. Malam Kawu did not mince words to express the happiness of his members over the steps taking by Ganduje to upgrade their businesses. In the same vein, the Managing-Director, Kano State Urban Planning and Development Authority (KNUPDA), Arc. Bashir Mudi Adamu, recounted the challenges the agency faced when it was marking the make-shift shops for demolition, but expressed happiness that at last good reasoning overtook sentiment and emotions.
When Ganduje mounted the podium to address the traders, there was hilarious chanting of “four plus four equals to eight,” meaning that Ganduje has been endorsed for a second-term. Governor Ganduje informed the mammoth crowd that the multi-billion Naira ultra-modern market project is anchored on a Public Private Partnership agreement with two indigenous companies. According to him, the contractors handling the project are to build the shops, while the state government will provide infrastructures such as nine access road network with street lights, a modern police station, Hisbah Board office, Vigilante group office, Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) office, a mobile court, including other basic infrastructures to ensure safety, peace, orderliness and smooth business transactions in the market.
Ganduje added that the ultra-modern market will be shaped into large, medium and small scale sections, adding that, “most African countries come to this Kantin Kwari to transact business and that is one of the major reasons we are making it an ultra-modern market. We are also determined to improve our major markets so that the incessant fire incidents would be prevented; again, we are rebuilding these markets in order to improve commercial activities. Today, we have started with Kantin Kwari, we are also working on Sabon Gari market, Kofar Wambai market and Dawanau market. As the government is providing an enabling environment for you traders to transact your businesses, I appeal to you to your taxes; while you are smiling—pay your taxes, while you are laughing—pay your taxes, while you are praying for us—pay your taxes, because we need money to do more.”
The Emir of Kano in his speech, admonished the traders on the need to see the market as their own property and as such do everything possible to sustain the infrastructure. He also spoke to them on the need to be fair and just during business transactions in line with the teachings of Islam. The First-class Emir also reminded the traders the blessings inherent in performing Zakat (offering alms to the needy) and as well, engaging in business activities that are not detrimental to the laws of the land and the teachings of Islam. The Kano monarch also commended Governor Ganduje for engaging in projects and policies that have positive impacts on the lives of the people, just as he urged the traders to support the government by paying their taxes promptly. Emir Sanusi also cautioned emphatically on the need for every Kano citizen to remain security conscious, helping security agencies with useful information that can track down miscreants and terrorists.
The state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Rabiu Yusuf, in his speech, assured the Governor Ganduje, the Emir, traders and Kano citizens of the determination of the police to maintain peace and order and ensure security of lives and property at the market and the entire state, “police will provide the enabling environment for commercial activities to flourish. Police will not allow miscreants to unleash terror on the traders and the good people of Kano state and we are not going to relent in our efforts to make sure that there is safety of lives and property at all times,” he added.
The AUTHORITY reports that two major sections of the market—Filling Parking and Layin Plaza are to benefit extensively from the face-lift. Kantin Kwari market is located right in the heart of Kano city, beside Sani Abacha Stadium. The textile market, known to be the largest of its kind in West Africa has a history of over 500 years. Traders from all over the world visit the market on daily basis, which serves as one of the major textile market in the whole of Africa.