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Traders, Prostitutes Sacked From Abakaliki Market by OrientDailyNews: 4:26pm On Oct 26, 2018
By Sunday Agbo, Abakaliki

Mixed feelings have continued to trail the decision of Ebonyi state government on the ongoing demolition and reconstruction of the regional market and motor park located at the popular Spera-In-Deo junction in Abakaliki, the capital city of the state.

Orient Weekend reports that the regional market is a conglom­erate of both business activities and sex trade, such that both the traders and the sex workers are now stranded and thrown out of their shops and homes.

Investigation by Orient Week­end reveals that some of the affected traders and sex workers were displeased with the state government policy of demolition and reconstruction, since there was no compensation from the state government.

Some of them told Orient Week­end that the Abakaliki local gov­ernment area had leased the land to them for 30 years, even as one of them stated that the N45,000 rent paid for each of the over two hundred shops had not elapsed.

They appealed to the state gov­ernment to cushion the effects of the demolition by providing them with alternative places pending when the reconstruction was completed.

One of the traders, Jimoh Abu, who spoke to Orient Weekend, alleged that the state government never gave them prior notice to quit. According to him, the traders were losing money running into millions of naira, adding that they had no place to run to.

“I have a beer parlour and other shops and provision shops here. For me, the demolition of the regional market is uncalled for. They did not give us quit notice and this is a season when we record high sales. Where are we going to pack our goods to? They did not make provision for that. We are helpless and handicapped because anywhere we take our goods to, we are rejected.

“We have paid for rent till May next year; some of us even paid for upward of two years. Abakaliki local government area allocated shops to us and we paid N45,000 for each shop in March this year and they have not refunded the money. For me, I do not know what the government is doing.

“The government told us to submit our documents; that is, if you have a shop here. We were asked to submit it to the minis­try of lands, housing and survey which we did. They also promised us to call for a general meeting, but they did not. The commis­sioner for works, Engineer Fidelis Nweze, said he was going to call for a meeting, but he did not do that.

“What we saw was the com­missioner for special project who came and told us that we .should be prepared to leave this place in the next two weeks. We took it as a joke. But he came again on Tuesday that they were coming to­morrow to demolish this market. We took it as a joke. What we saw yesterday was bulldozers destroy­ing everything.

“I wish they give us till January to enable us relocate to another place, it could have been a differ­ent ball game. But, they took our documents without compensation. It is bad.

“We are losing millions of naira. We have over two hundred shops being destroyed. Each shop cost N60000 per annum. If you calcu­late it, you will see that it is run­ning into millions of naira. Look at everybody; we have no place to go now”, Jimoh cried out.

Another trader who deals in li­quor and gave her name simply as Maureen said she was stranded and appealed for assistance from the state government. She said, “I am very, very stranded. I do not have anywhere and place to go. You can see that I am confused and stranded. I have lost so much money.

“I want the state government to help me. The state government should have sympathy on us and provide us a place to stay before the reconstruction of the market. They should find us a place to stay”, she stated.

Chukwuemeka Iruah, a trader who was attacked by hoodlums who cashed in on the demolition said he was dispossessed of his money and refrigerators. “I was here last night when ‘area boys’ besieged me and collected my money from me. They collected three hundred and fifty thousand naira (N350,000.00) from me.

“I was just passing within the market when they attacked me and collected my money. They also collected my two fridges from me. I sell drinks in the regional market. When they came I did not say anything to them. I have not reported to the police yet”, he lamented.

Meanwhile, a restaurant manager, Mrs. Chinwe Ekuma, who differed in her opinion about the demolition and reconstruction of the market, said she was not against the state government. She appealed to governor Umahi to assist the embattled traders with fund to enable them relocate to another place.

“I am not against the govern­ment moving us from this market. I am not angry that we have been asked to go away, but the problem is that we do not have money to go and acquire new shops. I packed into this place recently and I am yet to get established. After a while, they said we should relo­cate. I am not against it because it is part of development.

“The government should have given us some compensation, no matter how little it is, to enable us look for another place for us.

“Since I became an adult, I have never voted for anyone but during last election, I voted for Engr. David Umahi. I went to Nkaliki, waited and voted for him, stayed there until the votes were count­ed.

“I will still vote for him in the 2019 election. Anytime I spot him passing in front of my shop, I always come out to hail him. He should come by himself and give us money no matter how little it is, we will use it to get new shops.

“We are relocating in tears. I am married to Ebonyi state man. I will not pack these goods back to my place. He should assist us. Look at how my wares are scattered as if I am a mad woman. I do not know where to start. If I steal, they will kill me and if I ventured into prostitution, my people will disown me. He should come; I will support him in 2019. I will pack out, but I am stranded”, she said.

A retired prison officer, Chikezie John, said all the money paid to him by government as benefit was invested into business in the market before the demolition.

“I used the money paid to me by government as a retired prison service officer to pay for one year rent. After that, I started a small business here. Now, I have lost everything since the government did not pay compensation to the landlords.

“There is no way I can go and meet the government to refund the money I have paid. We were not given any notice. We only saw them yesterday demolishing shops here. There was no service of notice.

“This place has existed for a long time. I learnt it was con­structed during the regime of Jim Nwobodo. Last month, the local government chairman came and collected money from the landlords for 30 years as lease. Since they know this place will be demolished, they should not have extorted money from the landlords.

Ikeagwu Emmanuel, who though commended the Ebonyi state government for embarking on the demolition and reconstruc­tion of the regional market, said there was confusion initially on the shops to demolish.

“They said they wanted to expand this place to the garage. I am one the landlords. I have 30 shops here. The shops were marked with numbers. They said some of the shops were not includ­ed. After sometime, they came back and marked that line again, delete the marking and later came again.

“They said all the shops marked with black paint would be demol­ished. Different people came say­ing different things. We became confused and did not know the one to follow but we are obeying government.

“The Bible in the book of Ro­mans 13 told us to respect those in government. The leaders are doing the work of God. I am affect­ed. Look at this building; I spent over two hundred thousand naira at the beginning of the building. I have not stayed here up to two weeks. The rent of most of the buildings here will expire 2019.

“I have never heard of any plan by government to compensate anyone. I will not die because my shops are being demolished. I am an adult, and can still look for something to do. To me, the government is doing what it is supposed to do because without such demolition, there would be no development. I like the gover­nor”, he said.

In an interview, the Ebonyi state commissioner for lands, housing and survey, Professor John Eke, said the decision was taken by the state government to uplift the infrastructures of the state.

According to him, the trad­ers agreed with government on demolition and reconstruction of the market without state involve­ment.

He said, “It is wrong to call it demolition. It is demolition and reconstruction. We are uplifting the standard of infrastructure of the state. The government met with the traders in the park and landlords of their shops. We held several meetings with them. They pleaded with the government that they should be allowed to recon­struct the market.

“In a way, they are the one demolishing the market because they wrote us and signed an undertaking that we should allow them to reconstruct the market. There is no compensation because they have to retain their shops.

“They have their own commit­tee to make sure they do the right thing. We have given them the design. They are arranging the money by themselves. Our task is to maintain standard.

“Though, we know there will be inconveniences for a while because for them to get a better shop, one has to pack out. The work is being done at a very fast pace.”


lalasticlala seun mynd44
Re: Traders, Prostitutes Sacked From Abakaliki Market by cooldipo(m): 4:30pm On Oct 26, 2018
How would dey survive now embarassed
Re: Traders, Prostitutes Sacked From Abakaliki Market by tizzdi(m): 4:00am On Oct 27, 2018
make dem no worry..Atiku is coming..everywhere go maranma for dem wink

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