No fewer than 10,000 businessmen and woman have been issued notice to vacate their business premises in Sokoto metropolis and its environs by a Special Mobile Court within a month.
The traders, who have lamented their plight, said the court has not only directed them to vacate their shops, but in some instances traders have been forcefully ejected from their shops.
According to them, some of their members that complied with the directives were not subjected to any punitive measures while some who sought to know reasons for the order to vacate have been severely dealt with.
Those affected are as follows: meat sellers, traders, shop owner, petty traders, car dealers, transporters to mention few.
Nigerian Pilot Sunday learnt that the Special Mobile Court consists of two female magistrates, the representative of Ministry of Justice, NSCDC, Task force officials, Police.
Some of victims, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the notice issued to them was too short to enable them evacuate the area, stressing that Magistrates deployed to handle the task were rash and uncaring.
“Even though, they are working on the directive of the state government, they are too highhanded because they don’t care about our businesses, they just want to carry out their assignment without us breathing space to evacuate our goods.
“For some of us, investments of 20-30 years are destroyed mindlessly. We have to start a fresh to borrow money to set up businesses,” a trader said appealing to the state government to give them breathing space to relocate to other places.
They also lamented that the exercise does not favour any petty trader because getting a new location to operate is difficult.
“This is the beginning of the collapse of our businesses. Some traders have slaved for several years just to build their businesses.
“We know many petty traders that struggled for 20-15 years following the initial exercise (mobile court operation) before they were able to recover. And now, they are being subjected to the same process. We are appealing to Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal to consider the plight of the victims of the harsh operation of the mobile court operators.”
Efforts to get reaction from the Attorney General, AG, and Commissioner of Justice Barrister Suleiman Usman, as his Personal Assistant directed hoodlum to block me from getting access to him.
It would be recalled that the Sokoto state government set up the mobile court in clear the streets of hawkers and others who set up shops by the roadsides thereby causing unnecessary congestion on the road.
The court was also to embark on cleaning of the street and environs to bring sanity into the state.