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Tragedy in Rivers State as Abali Market is been destroyed

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Agents of the Rivers State Government have demolished makeshift stands of traders at the bridge Railway Market in Mile One area of Port Harcourt, popularly called Abali market.

It was gathered that the traders were given three week notice to vacate the area but they failed, leading to the forced demolition.

But the traders whose goods were damaged in the cause of the demolition complained that they were not informed about the operation.

They alleged that agents of the state government had last week demanded that they pay two thousand naira each to enable them continue to sell in the open space, but they offered one thousand naira instead.

One of the Market women who simply identified herself as Ndidi said, “They want to push us back to prostitution. They want to frustrate us with this thing they have done now.

“Their boys have been coming here to collect money from us and we have been paying. We have been paying anything they asked us so that we can continue to do our business.

“But we are surprised to see them today. They did not even allow me to carry my goods. They destroyed my goods and my shop together.”

Another trader, Ozichi said “All this is because of the 50 years celebration they want to do; so that they can claim Port Harcourt is beautiful.

“Is it now that things are hard that they want to beautify their city? Many people are hustling because they are hungry and this government is talking about beautifying Port Harcourt.”

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The Commissioner for Urban Development and Regional Planning, Chinyere Igwe, who supervised the demolition of the market told newsmen that the action was in compliance with a directive by Governor Nyesom Wike for urban renewal.

Igwe said it was not true that the traders were asked to pay money, adding that the police had arrested some leaders of the traders’ association who were involved in alleged extortion of their members.

He said, “They were given prior notice about this action. We gave them at least three weeks information but they took it for granted.

“Two people who claim to be our agent who have been collecting money from these people have been arrested and handed over to the police.


“What these traders are doing here is illegal. This property belongs to the Rivers State government and government said this place is not for trading.

“We are not stopping anybody from selling but they should go to the markets built by government. We have designated locations for market. We cannot allow Port Harcourt to lose its beauty. Our mission is to bring back the garden city.”

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