Traders Count Losses As Flood Kano’s Kantin Kwari Market

 Textile dealers in the popular Kantin Kwari market in Kano have continued to count their losses following a flood that destroyed goods worth over N200 million in over 250 shops and stalls.

This is even as heavy rainfall on Sunday and Monday continued to wreak havoc not only on the market but most parts of Kano metropolitan areas, which have been flooded by water, including the office of the State’s Emergency Management Agency (SEMA).

With over four hours of non-stop rainfall in the metropolitan area of the state on Monday, Daily Trust observed that major roads and premises were flooded.

This has been a recurring situation since the beginning of the rainy season, with most of the drainages blocked with waste and some properties now said to have been erected on waterways.

Daily Trust reports that SEMA had earlier in the month said that no fewer than nine people have so far been killed as a result of flooding while 6,417 houses and properties worth over N500 million have been destroyed since the rainy season started.

 Traders fault gov’t, market board for indiscriminate constructions

 Most of the traders in Kantin Kwari market have, however, faulted government’s handling of development in the market, which they said has witnessed a lot of buildings springing up on waterways and roads in the market.

heir position was reinforced by SEMA which, however, blamed the traders’ poor hygiene which led to the blockage of the few drainage systems left in the market.

However, the market management board, as well as the Kano State Urban Planning and Development Authority, the agency responsible for the layout and control of land use in all urban centres, said it was not true that new buildings in the market were sitting on waterways, insisting that the traders’ improper disposal of waste was responsible for the flood.

Daily Trust reports that Kantin Kwari, which is the largest textile market in Kano, is sandwiched between two major roads (Ibrahim Taiwo and IBB). It has seen rapid development in the last few years, with new structures replacing old ones while fresh plots were allocated for construction.

Most of the shop owners in the market who spoke to the Daily Trust after the recent heavy downpour in the state last week, contended that indiscriminate buildings and erecting structures on drainage, coupled with the ongoing road construction and flyover from Kofar Mata to the northward of the market, have rendered the market susceptible to flooding whenever there is heavy rainfall.

Specifically, some textile dealers argue that shops recently constructed by developers have blocked large waterways that enabled the free flow of water from and around the market, leaving only tiny drainage that cannot contain the heavy flow of water that is forced to flood shops.

It was observed that while there is blockade of water channels, water continues to trail its path right from the inner-city through Sani Mainagge to the Eid ground and downward to the market, which suffers from an inadequate drainage system.

Daily Trust learnt that the traders had in the past protested that buildings erected at Layin Ta’ambo, Rijiyar Baba, Gidan Kasim Warure and Gidan Wanka were not only blocking well-planned waterways but also making access into the market tedious.

They expressed fear that should there be a fire accident, it would be impossible for firefighters’ trucks to have access to the market.

A shop owner, Dauda Abubakar, said, “For over seven years that I have been in this market, there has never been a disaster like this, even when we had heavier rainfall.

“I will say that the erection of barricades under the flyover is what contributed to this misfortune.

“The construction of shops in Layin Ta’ambo also led to the blockage of drainage. Many large drainage systems were blocked and small ones were constructed.

“Honestly, almost all shops in this market are built either on waterways or the waterways were blocked before constructing new ones or new ones were constructed but are not as big as the previous ones.”

Another victim at Gidan Gareji, who lost millions of naira worth of textile materials, Abdullahi Umar Danduna agreed with Abubakar on the cause of the flood disaster.

“Here in Gidan Gareji, there are over 250 shops that have been affected by the disaster. I cannot specifically say the amount of wealth I lost to this recent flood.

“My 17 bales of white textile (shadda), each valued at N850,000 have been adversely affected. I have lost other less expensive materials too,” he lamented.

“We are appealing to the government to come to our rescue because if it rains again, the same thing is going to be repeated,” explained, another victim, Nura Iliyasu.

Jamilu Kasa, another trader who suffered losses, appealed that “A way should be provided so that water coming from the inner-city areas won’t follow through this side to the market.

“Before the building of the median strip, water flowed through its channels here in the plaza, but it can’t go through that now because of new buildings.”

Further observation made by our reporters revealed that there was ongoing construction of a new mega plaza to replace a demolished one beside the main drainage, which served as an exit point for all drainages, with major pillars now standing inside the collecting drainage which goes through Abattoir to Wase Dam.

 ‘Traders practise poor hygiene, shun security/safety measures’

Despite complaints by the marketers, it was, however, observed that there is poor hygiene observance with waste littering the market. The waste, Daily Trust observed, is mostly swept into the drainage during rainfall,l which ends up blocking the drainage.

There are no dustbins at majority of the shops and plazas in the market.

Similarly, of the thousands of shops and stalls in the market, only a few have fire extinguishers which could be used to avert loss of property to fire outbreak.

 Buildings, drainage are in order, flood will of God – Market MD

 Reacting to the development, the Managing Director of Kantin Kwari Market Management Board, Abba Muhammad Bello, called on the affected people to first take the disaster as the will of God while assuring engagement with government agencies on the issue.

While expressing the belief that in every flood issue, there must be a cause, he maintained that the heavy downpour that resulted in the flood at Kwari last Wednesday was novel.

“Since the rainy season began, there has been nothing like this, so you can’t ask God not to test whoever he wishes.

“Since my assumption of office as MD of this market, I never knew of any building erected or drainage blocked. I can’t show or tell you that. People are just insinuating that,” he said.

“Maybe the construction work outside may be the cause, but we know it’s temporary. Whatever is done is for the benefit of the people. All our drainages are in order,” he insisted.

Also speaking, the Director, Engineering, at KNUPDA, Nuruddeen Ahmad, who spoke on behalf of the managing director, Suleiman Abdulwahab, blamed the traders for poor sanitation.

“The marketers are the custodians of the environment, but they don’t take care of their places. No proper dumping of refuse which, of course, will block waterways. If you see what we took out of the market today (Saturday), it will surprise you.

“We have, in collaboration with the state Ministry of Environment, started evacuating refuse from the market which the traders were not disposing of well,” he said.

While acknowledging the complaint of the marketers about the barricade under the newly constructed flyover, he said, KNUPDA has already started taking measures to allow free flow of the water.

 Indiscriminate buildings, poor sanitation contributed – SEMA

Also reacting to the development, the Executive Secretary of SEMA, Sale Jili, associated the problem with gross lack of hygiene by the occupants of the market.

He also acknowledged indiscriminate buildings as a contributing factor to the flood.

“From Layin Ta’ambo down to Layin IBB, the drainage was blocked and, as a result, water could not pass through.

Honestly, the people in the market are practising poor hygiene as everywhere is littered with all kinds of garbage. They must be patriotic enough to rise to the challenge by taking care of their environment.

“When you talk about buildings, both individuals and government have erected buildings, and I believe the government won’t do anything that will bring harm,” he said.

He added that over N200 million worth of textile materials were damaged by the flood, according to their assessment.

 Atiku donates N50m to affected traders

 Meanwhile, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, has commiserated with the traders and donated N50 million to them.

Atiku, who made the donation on Monday at Mundubawa House of Senator Ibrahim Shekarau, said he had just been informed of the plight of the marketers

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