Ebonyi Govt demolishes popular Abakaliki Building Material marke
Samuel Amah, Abakaliki
The Ebonyi State Government, on Monday, began demolition of the popular Abakaliki Building Material Market.
This is, however, to the surprise of residents and traders, as government has not yet provided them with an alternative facilitate to continue with their activities.
The State Government had given traders in the market until February 28, 2021, to relocate from the market. The ultimatum, it was learnt, was treated with levity by most of the traders.
Our Correspondent gathered that by the time they (traders) got to the market on Monday morning, it was surrounded by military and police officers as well as agents of the state government, who supervised the demolition.
Bulldozers brought in by the state government had already started demolition of some of the shops in the market, as early as 8am.
Our Correspondent saw traders running around to remove their wares from the shops to avoid their being damaged by the bulldozers.
They lamented that government should have given them more time since the new site has not been completed.
They further argued that the forceful eviction will expose them to more hardships because government did not put any form of security in the new site, they were being ‘forced’ to relocate to.
Out Correspondent, who visited the market saw the traders running helter skelter trying to evacuate their goods while government officials were busy demolishing some of the shops.
Security agents were also stationed at strategic locations of the market.
One of the affected traders, Mr. Obasi, confirmed government gave them quit notice, but however noted they never knew the government will move in immediately to evict them as the new site had not been completed.
He said, “Government gave us order to pack out of this place to the new site but we didn’t know it was urgent because we thought they will give us time to prepare ourselves.
“They gave us till March 1st and we thought they will give us extension of one week. Secondly, the new site has no wall, no security, no motorable road, and even the buildings have not been completed.
“It will not only affect us but our families are affected. Government should give us one week.”
Another trader, Mr. Okwudiri Uche said the government took them unawares because they never knew government will start demolition immediately.
According to him, “We came to market this morning only to see that security agencies have blocked the entrance of the market and stopped our movement in and out of the market.”
It was, however, gathered that some of government officials at the gate were extorting between N10, 000 and N20, 000 from the traders for staying beyond government stipulated time.
But Secretary to the State Government, Dr Kenneth Ugbala denied knowledge of the said extortion, saying, “I am not aware of the extortion but I will call them on phone now.
The Special Assistant to the Governor on Special Projects, Richard Idike, said such collection was illegal.
He said, “I have said it several times; nobody should give any body anything. I am going there now to find out what is happening.”