Naomi Gabriel —
The Executive Director, Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), Prof. Ishaq Akintola last Saturday in Abuja, tasked governments at all levels to ensure that low-income houses and markets are affordable for Nigerians.
Akintola said most Nigerian workers can hardly afford the price tag of the so-called low-cost housing estates while ordinary market women who were driven out of their stalls could not pay for the shops built by governments.
“Nigerian Muslims yesterday (Friday) joined fellow faithful around the globe to mark the end of 2023 (1444 AH) Ramadan fasting. Prayers were held all over the country.
“MURIC felicitates with President Muhammadu Buhari, President-Elect Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, the Shehu of Borno, Alhaji Abu Bakr bin Ibrahim Al-Kanemi and all Nigerians on the occasion of this year’s Id al-Fitr.
“In view of the fact that Ramadan is designed to evoke pity and sympathy for the poor in every society, we call attention to the plight of the Nigerian proletariat who toil day and night for our country but who are overworked, underpaid and over-taxed.
“We direct special focus to the unfortunate phenomenon of redundant low cost houses purportedly built for workers by the federal and state governments but whose prices are well above what the poor workers can afford.
“Some of such buildings still remain unoccupied to date. They have become habitats for rodents, reptiles and cockroaches. They are symbols of bad government policies which need to be quickly reviewed”, he said.
Akintola added: “More saddening is the plight of poor and vulnerable market women who are driven out of their shops by governments. The shops are pulled down and ultramodern structures are built in their places. Yet governments always put crazy price tags that are unaffordable for the poor market women who were displaced for the new and modern shops.
“This constitutes deliberate dispossession and calculated economic disempowerment. It is sheer impoverishment as well as a direct and deliberate attack on vulnerable women. Millions of such women have been rendered poor and driven into lives of slavery, hunger and disease.
“It should be noted that many of these poor market women are breadwinners for their husbands and children. They are responsible not only for the feeding and accommodation of their families but also for the education of their children.
“This obnoxious policy forces the grownup children and sometimes the mothers to go into crime, prostitution and other evil practices like ritual killing and human trafficking. It is inexplicable, self-defeating and counter-productive for a government that is fighting criminality.”
“MURIC singles out the Lagos State Government (LASG) in this hateful policy in its drive for increased Internally Generated Revenue (IGR). Poor market women have been chased away from Igando, Iyana Iba, Okokomaiko, Ikotun, Oshodi, Mushin, and very recently, the Fruits Market at Ketu Garage in Lagos State.