Relocation Order: Army sacks Traders
Pandemonium reigned supreme today at the adjoining St.Michaels street, Park and Pound roads as a team of soldiers and members of the Abia state Vigilante Services (AVS)arrived to enforce the relocation order of the Abia state government. It was a theatre of confusion as the elecronics dealers battled to save what was left of their wares as the security men continued to destroy the makeshift shops which the area has been known for. In the process, many passers by were wounded as the area soon became deserted, with the traders converging at a safe distance to lament their woes.
Abia state government recently set up a committee to oversee the relocation of the electronics traders to Orie Ohabiam market with the intention of decongesting what the government described as an already crowded.
But the traders have continued to see the government's order as victimization as they are strongly arguing that the Orie Ohabiam market does not suit the purpose of a modern day market because it has become dilapidated and lacks amenities.
According to a trader who declined to have his name on print, “there is no basis for the government to force us to relocate to the Orie Ohabiam or Ehere markets. Look at the poor state of the roads, how can we, the traders or our customers access the markets? There is the problem of bad road network in Aba. The governor should first of all,, do the roads and open these areas. It will be easy for the traders to obey the order. Sending a team of security men cannot solve the problem. Government is simply insensitive to our plight”
Mr Okey Eme, a trader at the Pound road axis said “the government seems to be getting the issues wrong. How can they lock up our goods for two weeks now and be harassing us with Soldiers and the Bakassi Boys? I don't think this will solve the problem. The traders should be given time to adjust while the government makes efforts to address the issues being raised.” he concluded.
Our correspondent gathered that the traders are hell bent on maintaining their present location, insisting that they are not constituting to nuisance to the environment as being alleged by the government. Other claim that they provide 'park and shop' services to customers which they said, is obtainable all over the world.
A visit to the area revealed that the shops are still marked, “ Sealed by the Abia state government, Ministry of Commerce and Industry”. Most times, during the day, a source hinted, combined teams of Soldiers, Policemen and the AVS usually visit the area to ensure compliance.
In the meantime, the traders are said to be patient while hoping that the government may soon get weary of “its cat and mouse game” in the enforcement of the relocation order. This, according to an electronics dealer at Pound road who pleaded anonymity, may be like past relocation orders where the government, after much effort,decided to allow the traders stay on as in the days of former Gov. Orji Uzor Kalu's administration, where only a segment of the traders relocated to the Orie Ohabiam market.