Marketers of the Zubah Town Market in the Duport Road Community have had their worries eased over annual rental fees for the land where they carry out their daily activities.
The government, through President Ellen Johnson, has bought the two lots of land. The land is the property of the Lighthouse Full Gospel Church (LFGC), which the marketers have been squatting on for the past 17 years. The government also promised to secure funds in next year’s fiscal budget for the construction of a modern market place.
In response to this announcement, some of the marketers said the purchase of the land was the beginning of their dream of having one of several modern markets being constructed by government throughout the country being realized.
The issue of the land has been a contentious situation as authorities of LFGC have — on several occasions — threatened to take their property from the marketers; a pronouncement that always brought fear to them as it presented a threat to their livelihoods.
The government’s generosity has brought much relief to the markets, who were overjoyed as President Sirleaf presented the check of US$25,000 to the Lighthouse Full Gospel Church (LFGC) on Thursday April 17, at a formal ceremony held at the Duport Road Market. She also handed over the deed of the property to the leadership of the Liberia Marketing Association (LMA).
This means that the Zubah Town, Duport Road Market is now the property of LMA, which was represented at the occasion by its president, Ma Lusu Sloan.
President Sirleaf, on behalf of the Liberian Government, made the presentation to the Pastor of LFGC Praise Chapel, Rev. G. Uje Khasu. He received the check on behalf of the church; while the Superintendent of the Duport Road Market, Ma Martha, received the deed for the property.
Presenting the deed to the marketers’ leader at the ceremony, the Liberian leader promised that Government will construct a modern market building on the property as funds will be allocated in next year’s fiscal budget. She said the market will be accessible to all the surrounding communities of District #4, Montserrado County.
“We are pleased to say today, that the marketers —who have gone through so much for so long — can be at ease knowing they will soon have a better place to do business. They too, like other markets, can have modern facilities where they can sell and take care of their children,” President Sirleaf said.
She made it clear that the check presented to the LFGC for the purchase of the land along with the funds intended to construct the modern market building are not her personal money; rather they are government funds. “The Government is promising you that now that we have come this far to get the land, we will do all we can to give you a modern market,” she stressed.
President Sirleaf encouraged the introduction of literacy programs at the markets so that marketers can benefit from some education that would equip them to be better businesswomen and men.
Rev. Khasu, for his part, expressed his happiness over being present at the program in spite of initial difficulties they had relinquishing the piece of land to the marketers.
Rev. Khasu said, “Looking at development priorities and what it will do for the greater good of our people, the church resolved to give the land,”
LMA boss, Sloan, also thanked President Sirleaf for all the efforts she made in securing the land for the marketers. “Some of our marketers are widows; some are single parents; while some are just struggling. If we had lost this piece of land, it would have been a serious problem for them. That is why I want to thank all of you who made getting this land for the marketers possible,” she said.
Montserrado County District #4 Representative Henry B. Fahnbulleh said he is looking forward to the construction of the modern market building that would have a school building, clinic, bank and other facilities; making the Duport Road Market a ‘one-stop-shop.’