Soro in Ganjuwa Local Government Area of Bauchi State has over decades grown into a cosmopolitan town, attributable to its ever-increasing famous cattle market that attracts animal traders from far and within the state.
As a result of its growing influence in cattle trading, the aged-long market has since been clutched in terms of space and other social amenities for both human and animal temperament to which expansion has long been overdue.
The present site of the cattle market which holds every Saturday has been crowded.
To address this and ultimately make way for a befitting market, the North East Development Commission (NEDC) built an International Cattle Market in Soro town, equipped with all necessary facilities including water for both human and animal consumption, cattle clinic, animals loading and off-loading gallery, place of worship, and host of others were all put in place.
For over a year now, the New International Cattle Market in Soro town was ready for commissioning and subsequent use.
As should be expected, residents of Bauchi communities especially those who frequent the market await the formal commissioning of this gigantic project which was made possible courtesy of the NEDC, a body charged with the responsibility of facilitating the smooth and speedy development of the sub-region components following the over a decade insurgency that bastardized its infrastructures and millions of human lives.
NEDC has as part of its interventions in the sub-region constructed the International Cattle Market in Soro town of Ganjuwa local government area of Bauchi state to safeguard the lives of people of the town who have fallen victim to attacks by stray cows.
The managing director and chief executive officer Dr. Mohammad Goni Alkali said that the Ultra-Modern International Cattle Market whose construction work commenced sometime in early 2021 has amenities such as electricity, water, public and VIP toilets, and other conveniences provided within the market for ease of doing business.
The NEDC boss categorically explained that it is part of the mandate of the commission to intervene in areas that will make life easier for people of the North-East sub-region, saying “I have known about this market since my school years and I know how important it is to the people of the area. Based on the information we have, we decided to relocate the market to a safer and better place within the area of Soro town.”
Bauchi State Deputy Governor, Senator Baba Salihu Tela who led the inspection visit to the site project shortly after its completion recently, expressed happiness that the new market would go a long way in decongesting the town, especially on market days, and safeguard the lives of innocent people who had fallen victim of stray animals in the past.
Senator Baba Tela however pointed out that provision should be made to make business transactions in the market easier considering that Nigeria has joined the cashless society, hence the need for mobile banking on market days, and commended the commission for constructing the cattle market which, he noted, it is the first of its kind in the state.
The Senate Committee Chairman on Special Duties, Yusuf Abubakar Yusuf also on the entourage for the new market inspection could not control his joyful words when he burst out to speak on the need for ownership of the market to make it viable and durable. According to him, when people are carried along, they tend to be more involved in running the market activities.
The member representing Darazo/Ganjuwa Federal Constituency in the National Assembly Hon. Mansur Manu Soro, who also spoke at the occasion, enumerated that the new international cattle market has 48 shops, two restaurants that can accommodate 100 people at a time, a 200-capacity mosque, a mini cattle clinic, two boreholes, and convenience.
Hon. Mansur Soro explained that as a lawmaker representing the area, he became worried by the loss of lives in the cattle market, a heart-beating problem that forced him to move a motion on the floor of the Green Chamber of the National Assembly which, after its adoption by the Honourable members, was forwarded to the North East Development Commission for intervention. “I’m happy that the project has been successfully executed and met the aspiration of the people for which it was meant”
“Considering the size and volume of cattle that come in every market day, we decided to expand the market to conveniently accommodate at least 3, 000 cattle at a time and make business transactions easier for the people. The market would go a long way in reducing congestion on the nearby highway while also reducing the risk of people getting killed by oncoming vehicles on market days”.
The market project, having been completed, is awaiting commissioning now for over a year. It has also become worrisome to the beneficiaries who have since been eagerly waiting to see it put into use.
As should be expected, residents of Soro who could not hide their joy over the project, have continued to sing praises of the NEDC just as they make the case for urgent commissioning.
Auwalu Yakubu who is a resident of Soro community told our correspondent that the project is very significant and would no doubt bolster the commercial activities of Soro, the state, and the country at large, taking into cognizance the derivable revenue from the market.
He noted that the existing market provided for cattle trading decades ago has been overstretched with no room for expansion, a vehicle trailer load of cattle usually takes hours before off-loading the animals after reaching the market, likewise when it was uploaded before reaching the highway for onward transportation.
He, therefore, appealed to the federal government to as a matter of urgency, facilitate the urgent opening and putting into use, the newly constructed market to bring to an end the long-suffering of those patronising the existing market.
He said, “We will be grateful if by tomorrow the government unveils the curtain to enable us to socialize in the new market.”
Also speaking, the custodian of the market, the Sarkin Tike of Soro, Bala Alh. Haruna said “Let me, first of all, convey our gratitude for having such a magnificent building as the International Cattle Market where cattle merchants or brokers from various walks of life within and outside the state convey in Soro on market days to dispose of their wares or cattle to would-be buyers.
“The existing market in use is overstretched, people and cattle were animalistic allies mixed as if one of the two gives birth to the other. It is a kind of mixed grilled gathering where people suffocate due to lack of breathing air space. Imagine a situation where a trailer load of cattle could take hours in the struggle to either offload or load,” he said.
Sarkin Tike further explained that the most disheartening spectacle about the existing market was the insecurity as usually, hoodlums invade the place to cause disaffection or chaos in order to take away people’s money or property. “A times a cow may run out of control to hit a person or instantly cause his ultimate death. I can count where at different times people were killed by rampaging cows or animals.
“Sometimes a cow can rancorously ransack or trail a person who in the process of escape usually hit a vehicle or object that can lead to his death, it usually happens in the existing cattle market side of the main market. How can one imagine a situation where a trailer load of cattle on reaching the market site can struggle up to 4:00 – 5: 00 pm before offloading the cattle loads,” he said.
Another stakeholder, Tijjani Ibrahim Mai Block said the people were very delightful having the new cattle market in Soro, however, recalled that a lot of people have lost their lives on market days as a result of strangulations by stray animals or cows that usually over-power their guides or holders in the build-up for sale in the market.
Mai Block revealed that some cattle wholesalers have stopped coming to the market due to the insecurity permeating the market days during which enormous revenues were generated.
He appealed to the NEDC to facilitate the opening of the new market for use by the eagerly waiting would-be beneficiaries.
The modern market has all the facilities needed which include, an abattoir, veterinary clinic, boreholes for regular water supply, restaurants, lockup shops, drive-in for trailers, and a cattle loading point as well as a standard mosque, among others.