Traders, in their hundreds, yesterday, blocked the ever busy Abuja-Keffi road to vehicular movement for several hours thus inflicting discomfort to other road users.
Our reporter who was among those trapped in the ensuing traffic snarl gathered that traders under the auspices of Mararaba Building Material Traders Association were protesting the seal up of their market by the court and Police.
Chairman of the associaton, Victor Cheta, disclosed that security men in the market called him at 4.30 am and informed him of the presence of the police with court officials from Mararaba who said they were at the market to enforce a court order that the traders failed to comply with.
He argued that the association did not get any court order even when as it was in court with the owner of the land where the market is located.
He said that the land is on lease for 17 years and has only been occupied by the traders for only 12 years when the demand for one hundred thousand was made by the landlord from the 252 shop owners.
Meanwhile, counsel to the association, Ugochukwu Azubuike, faulted the court order and argued that it was neither signed by the registrar nor on his behalf.
The lawyer recalled that in 1996, an association entered into a legal lease with the owner of an empty plot of land, developed it and gave out to traders for 17 years.
He argued that the traders had no business with the original land owner as they were tenants to the association who went into lease with the owner.
He said that a court of competent jurisdiction had earlier dismissed the case in favour of the traders insisting that the judgement was not appealed on when the purported court order came.
“The High court said that the people the land lord brought to court had no legal relationship with the owner of the land. The battle now is that he obtained an interim order purportedly issued. Meanwhile, the interim order has not been served when they brought the police to seal up the market.’’
As at press time, the market was still under lock and key. The road was cleared at about noon when soldiers arrived to remove the obstacles erected on the road by the angry traders. Efforts to reach the Divisional Police Officer of Mararaba Police station, Supol Aliyu proved abortive as he was said to be engaged in a tight schedule.