By Ali Inuwa
Night markets have resurfaced in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital nearly three years after they disappeared due to Boko Haram insurgents’ attacks, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.
The markets disappeared in 2012 at the peak of the Boko Haram insurgency in the state.
But life started resurfacing a few months ago, following the gradual return of peace and the removal of military checkpoints by authorities.
A NAN correspondent who went round the city on Saturday night found that there was large-scale trading in markets located in Bulumkutu, Wulari, Gomari, Gwange, Customs and other areas.
NAN learnt that commodities sold included fresh meat, fish, grains and other perishables.
Also, there were local tea sellers popularly called “maishayi”, bean cake sellers and even fried grasshopper sellers in some of the markets.
Traders interviewed expressed happiness over the return of the markets, describing it as good omen.
Malam Ibrahim Yusuf, a meat seller at Customs night market, said that the return of the market had brought great relief to his family.
He said “we thank God that the markets have return; this allows us to operate here for some time in the evenings; it is a thing of joy for us who cannot afford to rent shops at the Monday market or Gamboru market.
“Our customers are mainly labourers who earn daily wages who usually pass through this market to buy food items for their families before heading home.”
He pointed out that the closure of the market in the past months created hardship to traders who had no other means of livelihood.
He added that “honesty speaking I had to beg to feed my family because things were difficult and I had nothing doing.
“But now, I am very okay as I make ends meet at the market.”
Malam Ado Zaga, a trader in the Customs market also said that the return of night markets had helped in boosting economic activities in the state.
He said “most traders have returned to business since the markets reopened and residents are happy now that they can stroll down to the markets and buy few things in the evenings.”
He commended President Muhammadu Buhari for his sincerity and commitment toward ending the Boko Haram menace in the North East.
He added that “I think Buhari deserves commendation for his effort in the gradual return of peace in Borno and the North East.
“We must commend him for chasing away the Boko Haram terrorists from Maiduguri, whether we like him or not.”
Malam Aji Kolo, a grain seller in Sabon-Layi, Gwange market, appealed to the state government to assist traders with soft loans to further boost economic activities in the state.
He said “we wish to thank Gov. Kashim Shettima for his numerous support to victims of Boko Haram terrorism in the state.
“However, we want him to extend this to local traders who have lost their business capital due to numerous attacks by the terrorists, by providing soft loans for them to begin again.