By Esokawu Dorcas
Life has not been easy for traders and customers of Zuba food and fruits market in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja
A visit to the popular market brings home this pitiable situation . The road that leads to the market evokes tears. The road is simply a death trap.
Vehicular movements into the market draws both laughter and tears. Laughter because of the way vehicles dance on the potholes that litter the road. Tears because it is difficult to drive on the road without making an arrangement for an analgesic. But despite that, it records high patronage, perhaps either as a result of the prices of food items or as a result of the centrality of the market.
The market is patronised more by residents of Gwagwalada, Abaji, Durumi, Mararaba and Kuje. Notable fruits and food items sold in the market include garri, mangos, cashews, oranges, carrots yams and ginger. The market occupy a very large hectare of land.
The traders who bring in the wares from neighbouring Nasarawa, Benue, Kogi and Niger states are losing sleep over the state of the road. They complain of a sharp nosedive in the patronage of the market by customers.
Other complaints of traders include indiscriminate parking of trucks, inept leadership and government’s abandonment.
Uncomfortable with the situation, traders have resorted to self-help. Concerned traders and union members scoop sand and gravels to fill bad spots. Sometimes, they compel motorists to pay N200 fee.
Most times, a good number of traders abandon their shops and they take their goods to the entrance of the market to lure customers.
Sunday Chidebere said: “The market is an everyday market, people all over Abuja come here to buy goods because of its low price.
“I do come from Gwagwalada everyday to sell my clothes. Trucks come by 4am to 5am to convey goods to other places,” he said.
Gloria, the chair lady of garri sellers, complained about the dullness of the market and delayed payment by buyers. “Before, we were few here, business was fine and we were raking in money, especially when President Goodluck Jonathan was in power. When customers buy goods, we were paid instantaneously, but now it is no longer so. Instead, they buy on credits and the annoying thing is that customers delay the payment which most times leads to quarrel. We have not sold since morning.”
Even as bad as the road is, according to Gloria, caretakers of the shops have hiked rents from N60,000 to N200, 000.
Mr. Kenneth, a motorcyclists, said that Gwagwalada Area council promised to repair the road.
According to him, they started six months ago but stopped work which has made the road impassable and total mess. He urged the Gwagwalada Area council officers to fulfill their promises.
Efforts to speak to the management of the market were futile as they were not willing to react on the matter.