Governor Mai Mala Buni of Yobe State yesterday announced the re-opening of Gaidam Town’s Market, one of the largest markets in the state which was closed down over 10 months ago by the military due to the Boko Haram insurgency.
The governor also announced that the 12-hour curfew in the town has been relaxed by four hours from 6 p.m. to 10p.m. daily.
The governor, who visited Gaidam town yesterday and held a townhall meeting with the people and the Emir of Ngazagamo Alhaji Tijjani Ibn Saleh, said the reopening of the market became necessary considering how its closure had caused untold hardship on the people many of whom depend on it for their livelihood.
Governor Buni prior to his visiting Gaidam town for the re-opening of the market, he has met President Buhari, Army Chief Buratai, Inspector-General of Police Mohammed Adamu and other top echelons of the nation’s security to confer with them and brief them on the situation in Gaidam town and how the closure of the market had affected the people’s wellbeing.
The governor observed that while security reasons were cited for the closure of the market, the closure had the potential to cause even more security challenges when you have youths who otherwise depend on the market for their livelihood roaming the streets and doing nothing.
“I have pledged on your behalf that security is and will remain everybody’s business. Everyone in Gaidam and environs will chip in and contribute to security by cooperating with the security agents and by promptly reporting any suspicious persons or activity to the security agents,” he said.
Governor Buni also revealed that he has granted permission for the Gaidam Local Government Area to recruit 150 more vigilantes who would work especially on Gaidam Market Days to ensure that market activities are conducted peacefully and ensure that any suspicious persons are apprehended.
“It is not just the chairman of the local government or the vigilantes. All of you in the town would to do your part,” he said.
The Emir of Ngazargamo Alhaji Mai Tijjani Ibn Saleh, who is the traditional ruler of the area, told the governor that insecurity and the closure of the market had plunged people into serious economic difficulty.
“More than 80 per cent of the people here are youth who have no jobs other than depending on the market. Its closure has rendered them idle,” he said.
The emir said the Gaidam market is over 100 years old and that every Wednesday, hundreds of lorries and trucks transport cattle and farm produce from the town to other parts of the country, underscoring its economic significance.
Gaidam people who participated in the townhall meeting with the governor, expressed appreciation and gratitude to him for his effort in re-opening the market. They, however, pleaded with the governor to also lobby the federal government to build the Gaidam-Maine Sorua road, which links Gaidam town with Maine Sorua in Niger Republic because of its economic importance to the people of the area.