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Businesses grounded in Maiduguri fish market as traders stage protest

Businesses were grounded for hours on Thursday when traders of the famous Maiduguri fish market in Borno protested the alleged tenure elongation of leaders of the market’s Fish Producers and Marketers Association.

The protesters accused the leadership of staying for 21 years instead of the prescribed eight years of two-term tenure contained in the association’s constitution, and refusing to call for fresh election.

Spokesman of the protesters, Abdullahi Bako, said all they were demanding was the holding of a congress to determine the future of the association and conduct of fresh election.

He urged the Borno Government to intervene, alleging that the current leadership of the association had overstayed its welcome.

According to him, the leaders have made life difficult for most members, forcing a lot of them to relocate to Adamawa and Jigawa.

”Many members are no longer allowed to bring fish from lake Chad to the market except a few selected ones, making things difficult for most members.

“Apart from the sum of N1.5 million being paid as revenue for a truck of fish, members also pay N1,500 per carton of fish without receipt.

“They have not been able to account for the over N200 million union money and have refused to call for congress meeting,” Bako alleged.

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Also speaking, Chairman of the elders committee of the association, Alhaji Bukar Shettima, urged Gov. Babagana Zulum to personally intervene in the matter because the committee set up by the government to work with the leadership was also not helping matters.

He accused the committee of acting as middlemen and starving the market of fish by taking over the responsibility of determining who would bring fish to the market.

Two fish dealers, Usman Raha and Abdullahi Bako, also urged the governor to intervene, pointing out that the market that hitherto received over 100 trucks of fish daily now hardly receives five.

A member of Lake Chad Basin Fisheries Association, Malam Labbo Tahiru, observed that things have worsened in the market since 2020, thereby affecting revenue that would have gone to both the government and traders.

“Today, a carton of fish is being sold for over N100,000 and until something is done, customers will continue to pay more,” Labbo said.

When contacted, a member of the embattled leadership who spoke on condition of anonymity, called for calm, assuring that they would respond to all the allegations.

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Meanwhile, police and other security personnel have been deployed to the market.

The spokesman of the Police command in the state, ASP Kenneth Daso, told NAN that the policemen were deployed to enforce a court order that stopped a proposed congress of the association, to avoid breakdown of law and order. (NAN)

Yakubu Uba
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