By Peter Duru
MAKURDI—Benue State government has warned the Coalition of Civil Society for Human Rights and Anti-Corruption to shelve its planned protest over its decision to relocate the popular Makurdi Wurukum market, saying the action could lead to a breakdown of law and order.
However, the coalition has insisted that it would go on with the planned march “except government rescinds the anti-people decision by negotiating and ensuring payment of adequate compensation to the affected traders.”
The Commissioner of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Tersoo Kpelai, who yesterday reacted to a letter by the coalition mobilizing traders in the state for the protest later in the week, warned that the protest could be a recipe for crisis.
Kpelai explained that the decision to relocate the market was a State Executive Council resolution, which was part of efforts by the government to restore the master plan of the state capital.
He said: “Moreover, we have made adequate arrangements to pay compensation to all the traders aside allocating new stalls to them at the New Makurdi International Market which boasts of modern facilities.
“Surprisingly we were at the verge of finalizing their relocation when they suddenly pulled out of the on going negotiation and opted to resist the good intentions of the government which enjoys popular support.”
But in a swift reaction, the Secretary General of the coalition, Comrade Sunday Attah, accused the government of being economical with the truth.
He debunked claims by the government that arrangements had been made to pay compensation to the affected traders.