Government: They occupied illegally
Paul Obiajunwo, Port Harcourt
Railway market traders in Mile 1 axis of Port Harcourt, Rivers State, yesterday were in tears and emotionally frustrated as they watches bulldozer cracking down their makeshifts and destroying their goods.
This was two day after some agents of Rivers State government in collaboration with some leadership of the market allegedly collected N1000 from each of the traders as a bribe to appeal to the government to allow them trade in the area.
Some of the traders were rolling on the ground when The post visited the demolition site which was tightly guarded by security officers who were busy chasing traders out of the site.
Mr. Ejike Ndu, a trader at the railway market said, “No notice was given to us, we just wakeup this morning and discovered that the bulldozer was already at the market destroying our goods. The worst thing is that some of us didn’t pick out anything from the shops.
Another trader, Madam Glory Onuegbu, said she went to market on Monday and loaded goods in her shop only to come to the market this morning and discovered that her goods have been grinded by the bulldozer
“They didn’t give us any notice, if they did, I wouldn’t have kept the goods I bought with my money inside the shop. They collected N1000 from us saying that the money is for us to stay for more months before the deadline would be given.
I don’t know what to do now. I don’t know where to stay, because I put all the money I had in that goods with the hope that if I sell out profit, I will use it to take care of my family. This is an act of wickedness; the government is not unfair to us,” Madam Onuegbu lamented.
But the Commissioner of Urban and Regional Planning, Hon. Chinyere Igwe who was supervising the demolition said the government had informed the traders earlier before now and also held series of meeting with them.
He said the exercise is for the interest of the people of the state, adding that government is out to restore the Garden City of Port Harcourt back to its glory and to demolish shanties in the state.
He noted that the traders illegally occupied the place which has become a criminal hideout, stressing further that those who collected N1000 from them were their follow traders and have been arrested.