|Gov. Umahi: Forces traders to move to new international market|
Some traders in Abakaliki metropolis are counting their losses as they lament the locking of their shops by government agents allegedly on the orders of the Ebonyi state Governor Dave Nweze Umahi.
The traders who spoke with SummitNews on Saturday in Abakaliki described the action of government as economic ‘annihilation’ and urged state authority to rescind its decision and unseal the affected shops.
They said that the shops were sealed by combined task force team and members of the Ebonyi Neighborhood Watch working for state government.
The traders who were seen milling around their locked shops while counting their losses said that they were being forced to move to the new Ebonyi International Market.
They also alleged that no prior notice was given to them before government resorted to forcefully evicting them from their respective shops.
The affected shops were located along Gunning Road near the defunct Abakpa Main market; some parts of the popular Ogoja, New Market road and Afikpo roads among and others.
Mr. Mathew Okorie, whose shop was located in the affected areas, said that his family was at the risk of starvation following the sealing up of his business premises by Ebonyi government.
He said that it was becoming very difficult to feed his family and other dependents saying that the shop was his only source of income.
“Since Friday, June 5, when the incident happened, I have not opened the shop to sell and my children and others who depend on me are starving,” he lamented.
He lamented that instead of mitigating the impact of the novel coronavirus pandemic on the people, the government is rather pushing the citizens out of business.
Okorie revealed that he and others had renewed their shops rents for another one year adding that the shops were not located within the peripheries of the former market where government banned business activities.
“Throughout the period they were talking about market relocation, we were not carried along, we were not asked to buy shops in the new International market because we are not part of the (Abakpa) market.
“I am appealing that the government should allow us to continue our businesses because we have paid all our business taxes to the state and we are not inside the market,” he added.
Another trader, Mr Nnaemeka Anayo, who deals on Computer accessories along Gunning road said that all through 2018 and 2019 talks about relocating the market began; they were never part of it.
Anayor explained that there was no reason for sealing their shops except that government wanted to forcefully eject shop owners around the former market.
Mr. Emma Uzor, Special Assistant (SA) to Gov. Dave Umahi on Markets in a reaction said that the sealed shops were located in residential buildings, adding that government was committed to restoring the Abakaliki master plan.