Traders confused, stranded as Adamawa govt demolishes Yola Shopping Complex

Traders, artisans and other owners of shops at the famous Shopping Complex, Jimeta, Yola, were left stranded Wednesday as the Adamawa State government began demolishing the complex.

The demolition is to pave the way for an entirely new complex as part of a bigger plan to make room for a flyover being constructed around the Mubi Road neighbourhood.

“We have had months to ponder on the reality of having to leave this Shopping Complex but the thought of it still disheartens me,” a shop owner at the complex, Martins Cyril”, said.

Mr Cyril who sells phone parts and accessories at the complex, spoke to DAILY POST, on Wednesday morning as he struggled to remove the remainder of his wares at his shop.

He said although he had secured a space at the new place they were given for temporary occupation, he was afraid he would lose most of his customers.

“Besides, though the government has promised that each of us will have a shop back when this rebuilding is completed, we can’t be so sure,” he said.

When in March this year the Adamawa State Commissioner of Commerce & Industry, Dr Ishaya Dabari, spoke about the rebuilding or remodelling of the Jimeta Shopping Complex, he explained that for the job to be done smoothly, shop owners would be relocated to another place.

This other place is the abandoned late Gambo Jimeta Modern Market and Motor Park, a vacant facility in Fallujah, opposite the Main Jimeta Modern Market in another part of Jimeta.

The commissioner had assured that more shops than the shopping complex now has would be available in the remodelled market, as the shops this time would be in multi-storey structures.

This, however, did not sound assuring to most shop owners at the shopping complex, as they are not convinced of having an allocation when the remodelling of the complex is completed.

For Kabir Abubakar, a shop owner who is a repairer of and dealer in phones, the disorientation revolves around the wisdom or otherwise of putting up a structure in the place they have been allocated when it would only be temporary.

“Note that Fallujah is an open space. You have to pay N70,000 for a space to put up your shop. And you put up the shop at your own expense too,” he told DAILY POST, adding that he did not have the money to do that, especially since he would be there for a short while.

Abubakar said, “The government has promised that the rebuilding of this place will be within one year. I can believe them, knowing the reputation of the Fintiri government with finishing projects at the stipulated time. Now, what happens to whatever I put up at the Fallujah temporary location when this complex is ready again for occupation?”

Kabir who still hovered around his shop at the old complex up to the afternoon of Wednesday even as many of the buildings were already pulled down, said he was going to rent a shop anywhere within Jimeta and pay a one-year rent, instead of going to buy space and erecting any structure at Fallujah.

On her part, Esther Joel, a dealer in raw foodstuffs who operates from a shop at the shopping complex, resolved, amidst much reservation, to operate from around her residence in Nasarawo, a community in Jimeta about 20 minutes walking distance from the shopping complex.

“This has been a family business operated in this shop (at the complex) for several years. It is where our customers know us. Now, apart from a few that we have had time to discuss with, most of our customers will not know where to find us,” Esther said.

The pains of shop owners notwithstanding, the government doing the Jimeta Shopping Complex remodelling and individuals and groups supporting it, see the project as a compelling necessity.

Among those contending with the inconvenience of leaving their familiar environment at the shopping complex is Kaka Abbana, a seller of GMS accessories (the shopping complex is half the Yola version of a GSM Market and half a general-purpose market).

Kaka Abanna said painful as it is to have to leave the place, Governor Ahmadu Fintiri should be appreciated as opting to remodel the complex for the overall good of the state.

“I commend the governor for his giant strides and development passion. If you go around the state capital, you will realize that the state is wearing a new look. There’s a glaring presence of a working government,” Abbana said.

DAILY POST had reported in March this year that the remodelling of the Jimeta Shopping Complex is made necessary, as the government said, by the construction of a flyover around what was famously called Mubi Roundabout.

The flyover project which has greatly advanced, stretches along the Mubi Road (now Atiku Abubakar Way) to just before the edge of the shopping complex.

The state commerce commissioner had explained in a press interview in March that the flyover project requires expansion of the Atiku Abubakar Way by which the complex is located.

Expansion of the road, the commissioner said, would eat into the grounds of the complex, threatening its very existence. To keep the complex, and actually have a bigger one by way of number of shops, the complex as it is with largely one-story buildings, needs to be pulled down so that a new one, with multi-storey buildings, is put in place.

“The idea is to transform the complex of 2,330 shops to a remodelled complex of more shops by replacing the one-storey buildings with multi-storey structures,” he explained.

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