Security operatives in Jos, the Plateau State capital, recently clamped down on roadside traders around the Terminus Area in an effort to decongest the area. Our correspondent observed that police patrol vehicles are now a constant feature at the Terminus, Ahmadu Bello way and Rwang Pam Street.
It would be recalled that a twin bomb blast had rocked the terminus market in May 2014 killing scores of persons and injuring many. This development forced the immediate past government of Governor Jonah Jang to ban street trading and display of wares at the market. Also, the Jang-led government said it had concluded arrangements for the full implementation of the ban on street trading and hawking on streets within Terminus Market and some parts of the Jos City centre.
The ban was in reaction to the twin bomb explosion in the area in May that led to the death of about 200 people. The then Commissioner for Information, Olivia Dazyam, made the government’s position known to journalists in Jos. The ban, according to the commissioner, would also affect motorists plying and parking within the designated areas.
“Government and security chiefs met with leaders of traders association and the National Union of Road Transport Workers, NURTW, and at the meeting, it was resolved that streets within the Jos city centre should be cleared of illegal traders, hawkers, motor parks and indiscriminate parking of vehicles.
“Operators of illegal motor parks, illegal traders and motorists engaged in illegal parking, particularly around the Terminus area down to Plateau riders, Ahmadu Bello Way, Tafawa Belewa Street, ECWA Good News, Old Bukuru Park, Murtala Mohammed Way, Rwang Pam Street, and Gengare Road, are strongly advised to comply. The government’s action will also affect legitimate business owners within the areas because they would not be allowed to park cars around their businesses.’’
Dazyam stated that shop owners along the mentioned areas and other motorists were advised to find alternative areas to park.
She said a government taskforce would commence the enforcement, adding that the government was enforcing the ban to ensure adequate security. “This measure is to ensure the maximum safety of our people. The security of our people is paramount to government. We will not allow a repeat of what happened on May 20 at the Terminus Market,” she said.
According to Dazyam, the gesture was to ensure better security management and also decongest the state capital, adding that the police have been given the mandate to inform the public on government’s plans.
Meanwhile, hawkers, who were sacked from the surroundings of Terminus, Jos Main Market and Ahmadu Bello Way, have accused the security agents saddled with the enforcement of the ban on street trading of molestation and mockery.
Chairman of Terminus Shoe Sellers Association, Zakari Yau Adam, said the Joint Security Task Force, JSTF, had extended the molestation and mockery to not only the traders, but passersby and commercial tricycle operators without provocation.
Adam said despite abiding by the ban and not trading by the roadside, security agents were fond of subjecting traders to beatings and forcing them to frog jump.
On his part, Chairman of Fairly Used Wears, FUW, Dauda Muhammad, accused the state government of not providing them with alternative areas to continue their legitimate business. “We believe that the area we are currently conducting our business is illegal but we were forced to hawk on the roadside because we have not been allocated any place where we can conduct our business, since the main market was burnt. We call on the government to provide us with alternative markets where we will out our legitimate business while they embark on the reconstruction of the terminus.”
When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Emmanuel Abu, told our correspondent that the clamp down became necessary because of the congestion in the area which he said was capable of attracting terrorists.
DSP Abu said a unanimous decision was taken by security stakeholders in the state to decongest the area and urged the traders to move to alternative markets provided for them by the government.
“The multi-task force includes: the civil defence, military and the police and the aim is to decongest the areas because terrorists usually take advantage of such areas to strike. From time to time we will continue to enforce the law on roadside trading because these insurgents are looking for congested places to strike,” Abu said.
He said the mandate of the task force was to enforce the ban on street trading and not to molest traders. “Why will security agents molest anyone when we are trying to save lives? You know that the area has been targeted by terrorists because of the congestion. So our asking people to leave in compliance with government’s directives. We are only trying to protect them because their lives are precious to us.”
He said law enforcement agents were not partisan and were working in the interest of the country irrespective of which political party was at the helm of affairs.

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