Poor workers, traders can’t seem to afford low-cost housing estates or markets: MURIC

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On Saturday, the Muslim Rights Concerns (MURIC) denounced the continuing high cost of the government’s low-cost housing complexes, saying it would be beneficial if such were pocket-friendly so that people could afford them.

This was said by MURIC, an Islamic human rights organization, in a statement issued in Lagos and signed by its Director, Prof. Ishaq Akintola.
The message urged governments at all levels to make dwellings, market booths, and shops affordable to the common man.

According to MURIC, impoverished workers could scarcely afford the so-called low-cost housing developments, while common market women were forced to leave their stalls because they could not afford the businesses established by governments.

“MURIC said the appeal is part of its Sallah message, in which it congratulated 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 Eid al-Fitr this year.”

“Because Ramadan is intended to elicit pity and sympathy for the poor in all societies, we draw attention to the plight of the Nigerian proletariat, who toil day and night for our country but are overworked, underpaid, and over-taxed.” We request that special attention be paid to the terrible occurrence of duplicate low-cost dwellings ostensibly built for employees by the Federal and state governments but whose prices are far above what the poor workers can afford.

“Some of these structures are still vacant today.” They’ve become home to rodents, reptiles, and cockroaches. They are emblems of terrible government policies that must be evaluated immediately.

“More heartbreaking is the plight of poor and vulnerable market women who are forced to close their businesses by governments.” The stores are demolished, and ultramodern structures are constructed in their stead. However, governments constantly impose exorbitant prices that are prohibitive for the impoverished market women who have been displaced by the new and modern shops.

“This is intentional dispossession and calculated economic disempowerment.” It is both destitution and a clear and purposeful attack on vulnerable women. Millions of such women have been impoverished and forced into lives of slavery hunger and disease.

“It should be highlighted that many of these poor market women work to support their husbands and children. They are responsible not just for feeding and housing their family, but also for their children’s education.

“This heinous policy forces grown-up children, and sometimes mothers, into crime, prostitution, and other heinous practices such as ritual killings and human trafficking.” It’s incomprehensible, self-defeating, and counter-productive for a government battling crime.

“MURIC singles out the Lagos State Government (LASG) in its drive for increased Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) in this heinous policy.” Poor market women have been pushed out of Igando, Iyana Iba, Okokomaiko, Ikotun, Oshodi, Mushin, and, most recently, the Ketu Garage Fruits Market in Lagos State.

“In the previous markets, ultramodern shops have been created. As a result of LASG’s exorbitant prices for the new shops, a large number of impoverished, vulnerable market women have been displaced. Where does LASG expect poor market women selling pepper, onion, tomatoes, native herbs, and other minor items known locally as ‘wosiwosi’ to earn millions of naira to buy shops?

“The ultramodern shops have been taken over by modern-day capitalist comprador bourgeoisie with easy access to bank loans, connections in power corridors, and a sinister motive to drive poor market women who are indigenous out of their land for eventual and total takeover of ‘a land without people’ by a people out for total control of land belonging to others. We warn that these are ingredients for anarchy in the nearest future.”

“MURIC advises the federal and state governments to make their homes and markets more welcoming to people.” Governments at all levels should temper their desire for quick recoupment of cash invested in housing developments. The practice of selling houses and businesses at exorbitant prices should be discontinued. It only succeeds in strangling society’s poor,” the statement said.

(NAN)

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