By Biola Adebayo
Hoodlums invaded the Mandate Market in Ilorin, Kwara State, on Thursday, scaring away petty traders and TraderMoni agents and disrupting the disbursement of money to beneficiaries of the scheme.
As early as 9 a.m., the hoodlums, some of them wearing ‘PDP Atikulated T-shirts’, stormed the Mandate Market, insisting that the TraderMoni scheme could not be conducted, because Senate President Bukola Saraki’s father donated the land to the state government to build the market.
It was not clear whether they were sent by anyone or whether they were mere party zealots, working on their own.
According to witnesses, including Bank of Industry (BOI) officials who were at the market to supervise the enumeration and disbursement of the N10, 000 collateral free loans, the arrival of the mob at Mandate Market caused some uproar.
The thugs also intimidated the petty traders who had lined up to participate in the programme.
Many of the traders were palpably annoyed and refused to leave the market.
Calm was restored with the intervention of the police.
At the Ipata Market, where enumeration and disbursement of the TraderMoni loans were also going on, market leaders reportedly rebuffed pressure from some officials of the state, urging them to shun the enumerators. The programme went on without incident.
Officials of the Bank of Industry told journalists that enumeration had been going on in the two markets in Kwara State in the last few days, without incident until Thursday.
The vice president, Yemi Osinbajo, is expected in the markets on Friday December 7.
TraderMoni, which is part of the federal government’s Social Investment Programme (N-SIP) under GEEP, is designed to assist petty traders across the country expand their trade through the provision of collateral and interest-free loans from N10,000.
The loans are repayable over a period of six months at which point the traders on repayment will receive a fresh N15, 000 loan, which rises to N20, 000 when repaid.
The microcredit scheme, which has since been formally launched nationwide, is expected to reach two million petty traders by the end of the year.