By Ameh Ejekwonyilo
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has said it would invite the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mallam Mohammed Bello over the demolition ofA�A�Goza market along the Abuja International Airport road, Abuja recently.
Acting Executive Secretary of the commission, Mrs Oti Ovrawah made the disclosure last week, short after a tour of the demolished market to get first-hand information of the situation.
Ovrawah, who was accompanied on the visit by staff of the commission, told victims and traders at the market that the commission as part of guaranteeing the protection of the economic rights of the people, would be inviting the FCT Minister and representatives of the market to a roundtable.
“We are here for on an the-spot-assessment. We have been to the old place and we are now here. Part of our mandate is to ensure that right to economic rights is protected. We will invite the FCT administration and the market representatives to a meeting.
“We need to know what plans are on ground for the relocation of the market as well as compensation to traders whose goods were destroyed “, she said.
While advising the head of the market to compile a list of all those affected by the demolition, she commended them for maintaining peace as government continues work at the new site for the market.
Officials of the Federal Capital Territory Authority, guarded by security operatives had on Saturday March 24 embarked on the demolition of the market leading to a huge loss of traders wares.
The action sparked riots with the traders, majority of whom are of the Gbagi extraction in Abuja blocking the expressway for several hours.
Apart from claims that the government did not inform the traders before embarking on the demolition exercise, the victims claimed the demolition was a threat to their livelihood as many of them are either widows or with husbands who are not employed.
Head of the market, Wakili Istifanus, while giving details of the destruction said, the only reason given for the demolition was that it was obstructing the highway.
Istifanus, however, confirmed that the minister apart from providing a new place for the market, promised to do something concerning those whose goods were destroyed.
Some of the traders who spoke to journalists however appealed to the government to make the road leading to the new market motorable as well as provide security and other basic amenities such as water and toilet facilities.
The actual amount of goods lost in the demolition had yet to be ascertained, since the market head had not compiled the list of victims and their losses.