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Traders battle traders

Traders battle traders

As activities of the ongoing operation Waste Management, Improved road access and Decongestion (WID) intensifies in the Freetown Municipality, Traders at Goderich Street/Eastern Police axis on Saturday 8th June 2013 battled with traders of the Bombay street market.  (Photo: Alhaji Usu Boie Kamara, Minister of Trade)

It all happened when Freetown City Council personnel led by Councilor in charge of Municipal Traders Mrs. Hajaratu Samura tried to negotiate with the Bombay Street traders to allow traders from the Goderich Street/Eastern Police axis who suffered recently from operation WID to join them in trading their wares.

Speaking to this reporter, Section Chief and Chairlady of the Goderich Street/Eastern Police traders Madam Ya Alimamy Kosto said that they were taken by surprise as City Council never informed them of the date they would carry out their operations. She appealed to the Minister of Trade, Alhaji Usu Boie Kamara to help them find their survival in order to sustain their families as most of them can’t make it to the offices.

Madam Kosto cautioned authorities to take up their responsibility by providing traders with markets before forcing them out of the streets. She disclosed that before this time, over three hundred traders registered with the Freetown City Council and each trader paid the sum of five thousand leones (Le 5,000.00) and inquired what is the Freetown City Council doing with all the monies they collected.

Madam Kotso narrated that she was amongst team of traders that went with the councilor to negotiate with the Bombay Street traders. She pointed out that the negotiations started well but no sooner some youths around the area started chanting slogans that they will not agree, argument ensued and some of the traders with them ended in police cell. She vowed that if the authorities failed to settle their Issue they will go back to the streets to sell their wares.

In an interview with the Councilor in charge of Municipal Traders Mrs. Hajaratu Samura, she told this medium that after series of meetings held with the Hon. Minister of Trade, Traders and other stakeholders, it was resolved that traders be relocate from the Eastern Police axis to the Bombay Street Market and that modalities be put in place for the cleaning of the market. She further said that after they had cleaned the market, they were trying to allocate spaces to traders; those selling foodstuffs to use the upstairs whilst those selling cosmetics use the downstairs of the market.

Councilor explained that whilst they were allocating spaces to traders from the Eastern Police Axis that the Chairlady of the Bombay Street Market and other youths rudely interrupted with the use of abusive languages coming from different parts of the market and later fight ensued. According to her she blamed the Chairlady of the Bombay Street Market for betraying her trust.

Speaking with the Chairlady of the Bombay Street Market, Madam Hawa Kamara she denied any fore knowledge of mixing with other traders from the Eastern Police axis, she blamed the councilor for not informing her and for taking up the decision to push her traders upstairs without her consent. She vehemently said that they will not go upstairs and whoever the council want space for should occupy the upstairs.

Madam Kamara reiterated that they are selling perishable goods and these goods needs to be passed quickly rather than the imperishable goods.

By: – Alhaji Mohamed Wusha-Conteh

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