Market Chairman: Two died, others hospitalized over shock
Paul Obiajunwo, Port Harcourt
TRADERS in Rivers State have urged the state government not to term them criminals, adding that the government was doing so on wrong information.
The traders, whose goods running into billions of naira were destroyed at the Mile 1 Market Extension in Port Harcourt City Local Government Area of the State, expressed displeasure with the claim that the market was a criminal hideout.
The Rivers State government had demolished the said market allegedly approved by the past governor, Chibuike Amaechi, as a temporary site around former Obi Wali Cultural Centre.
The state government had in a statement by the Special Adviser to the governor on Land and Survey, Mr. Anugbum Onuoha, stated that the occupants of the area were illegal and that the place was a criminal hideout.
But briefing newsmen in Port Harcourt yesterday on the plights of the traders after the demolition, the Chairman Mile 1 Market Traders Association, Mr. Kenneth Eze, noted that the state government legally relocated traders who had lost their goods to inferno to the area in 2014.
Eze confirmed that two people have died of shock as a result of the incident and that several others who are down with High Pressure are still hospitalized.
Eze said, “These traders were officially relocated from their original place of business at mile one market (the area now designated for phase two of the mile one market project) to the old cultural centre and a letter was raised to that regards.
“Upon the receipt of the letter, I and the other market leaders pleaded, persuaded and prevailed on the traders to move to the temporary site with assurance of quick return as promised by the government.”
Eze regretted while the Ministry of Land and Survey and its agents would descend so heavily on traders who are lawfully relocated to the area and tagged them criminals.
He urged the government to look for alternative means of livelihood for those traders that lost all their belongings in the process.
“We are calling on Governor Nyesom Wike to come to the aid of the traders numbering over 2000 by immediately providing alternative place of business for the traders and release a compensation package to assuage their grieve and ameliorate their sufferings.”