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Enugu State government on Friday disclosed that it applied all legitimate processes to demolish the building materials market, along Kenyatta Street, in Uwani, Enugu State.
On Thursday, the Eastern Updates had earlier reported that Bulldozers belonging to the state government demolished the market, even before some traders could resume the day’s activity. Several shops and wares were destroyed.
Some traders had attempted to relocate their goods to safer areas. Voices had risen over the action of the government.
The governorship candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Frank Nweke Jr, who claimed he rushed to the market on receiving the news had described it as ‘inhuman’.
‘When I saw the video, I decided to come and see by myself. I am shocked and devastated by the development. It is not in place of the government to destroy people’s livelihood. To destroy the shops with the traders’ goods is inhuman’, he said.
But, the government, however, said the demolition followed a court order by the Enugu State Magistrate’s Court and several radio announcements by the Enugu State Capital Territory Development Authority (ECTDA), notifying the traders of its readiness to implement the order.
The Court Order was issued by B.C Ekwo on July 8, this year. It authorised the state government ‘to seal off and close all business activities of occupants of the electronics and electrical dealers of the old Kenyatta Market’. It stated that some of the structures had been illegally erected.
Government said the radio announcement called on the trader to vacate on or before August 4, 2022 to the new Kenyetta International Market, where they had allotted shops in the past three years.
The Chairman of ECTDA, Josef Onoh blamed the market leaders for their inability to convince the traders to vacate the street market and move over to the better planned permanent site of the market.
Onoh said the exercise was due to the congestion within the city. He also noted that the area where the traders converted into a market was originally a place given to the National Youth Council of Nigeria, (NYCN), for youth capacity development and recreation, but which the council turned to a building material market in the heart of the city centre.”
‘As way back as 2003, a site was obtained and designated as Enugu South International Market and the successive state administrations failed to relocate the traders to that site in Ugwuaji. It is not only hurting the economy of the state, but also affects the development and growth of the city.
‘So, we now have an overpopulated arena, which has contravened every single aspect of the town planning development; and we have given them so much time to relocate to the site. On January 6, 2000, we came for an enforcement and we moved a portion of the traders but some said they didn’t have shops’.
Chairman of Kenyetta Market Traders’ Association, Chinweuba Igwesi, said there have been several relocation notices for the building material dealers, which some traders failed to comply with, expressing sadness that relocation lingered.