Traders at the Katsina renowned Central Market have decried a three-year power outage following the fire inferno that razed some sections of the state-owned market in 2021.
THISDAY gathered that the popular market was cut off from power supply immediately after the fire incident that destroyed over 520 shops and properties worth billions of naira.
Some of the traders, who spoke in an interview with THISDAY on Friday, lamented that the development has crippled many businesses and economic activities in the ancient market.
One of the Traders, Abba Ibrahim, who owns a tailoring shop, said his business had suffered decline due the power outage and the fuel subsidy removal had also aggravated the situation.
He said: “For the past three years we have been operating our businesses without light in this market since the 2021 fire incident. If I tell you how much I spend on fuel daily since the fuel subsidy removal, you’ll pity me.
“You can see how people are sitting idle in the market, as a result of lack of electricity supply. This ugly trend has continued for three years now. The effect of this is many youths have been kept out of their jobs in the market.”
Mrs Grace Chukwu, a Hairdresser, revealed that she exhausts all her profits on purchasing fuel for her generator “We have been running business here at a loss for the lack of electricity supply for three years.”
Another trader, Lawal Salisu, noted that the situation was made worse by lack of alternative power supply, such as generators in the market and called on relevant government agencies to intervene.
Malam Armaya’u Mashi, a fishmonger, said the power outage had crippled his business, lamenting that he had suffered significant losses orchestrated by the perennial power outage in the market.
He said: “Lack of electricity supply in the market has crippled my business, because I cannot afford to buy fuel on a daily basis. I have resolved to use my motorcycle to carry passengers to the market because I can’t afford fuel.”
Mrs Tina Adesola, a trader in assorted drinks, said that lack of electricity supply had thrown her out of business.
“Lack of electricity supply has turned my fridge into a cockroach infested box. Although I tried to buy ice blocks to sustain the business, the high cost of the blocks made it impossible for me to continue”, she said.
But when contacted, the Chairman of the Traders Association in the market, Shehu Abubakar, said the state government had concluded plans to restore electricity in the market for businesses to thrive.
While admitting that lack of electricity supply remained the biggest challenge bedevilling traders in the market, Abubakar said the challenge would be addressed by the government in no distant time.
He said: “We have had the challenge of power supply since after the 2021 fire incident, but we have written a letter to SA Market Development and the Governor has approved the installation of the light.”
Abubakar appealed to the state government to provide adequate security operatives in the market to protect lives and properties.
Francis Sardauna in Katsina