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Monday, April 22, 2024

Let the Poor Breathe — Petty Traders Beg Soludo As ACTDA Begins Another Massive Demolition in Awka


By Izunna Okafor, Awka

Petty traders and micro business owners around Ukwu-orji area, behind Anambra Government House have cried out to Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, the Governor of Anambra State over demolition of their shops and containers by the Awka Capital Territory Development Authority.

The traders, mostly women including widows, said no fewer than 150 petty businesses in Agu Awka area were displaced over the weekend and in early parts of the week.

The affected businesses were those operating in kiosks, containers and makeshift shops which were built on the setbacks between the buildings and the road and did not in any way cover or extend beyond the drainages.

The ACTDA officials under Mr Ossy Onuko as the Managing Director who worked under the protection of operatives of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps used caterpillar to destroy the kioks and compress metal containers of the petty traders.

The traders said rampaging ACTDA officials destroyed their shops and the goods inside them without allowing them to remove their items.

They said beyond displacing the small businesses from their places of trading, the Anambra government officials also ruined their trading capital which was in the form of goods in their kiosks.

Mr. Sunday who operated in a container lamented the destruction of his business as he watched helplessly.

Sunday wept deeply said the destruction of his business location had set him many years back after over 20 years in Awka.

“I am deeply pained that my stay in Awka for over 20 years and the business that sustains my family has been ruined by this government,” he said.

Another resident of the area, Mrs Ifeoma who said she had lived in the area for over 25 years in the area when it was still a forest regretted that the Anambra government could evict them from the area without notice.

Ifeoma said there was scarcity of shops because of the buildings in the area and that the available ones were unaffordable to medium and  scale businesses.

“It is sad, we supported this government because the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) assured that they represent the interest of the masses but see how they have rendered us useless.

“We needed at least one month notice if they must sack us but, as you can see, they came suddenly with their caterpillar and destroyed our containers and goods. What we have is what we quickly rescued,” he said.

Mr. John Olanye, a resident of the area said the action was inimical to safety and security of the peoples of the area.

Olanye said most of the rescued items including bags of sachet water were being exposed to sunlight and rainfall with the risk of being stolen and causing cancer for consumers.

“These petty businesses have been of immense help to the people living in the area. Apart from making money to sustain their families, they have been part of the development of the area, I have known some of them for about 15 years.

“They have the family they are feeding but now, they have lost their source livelihood and crime will likely increase.

“We had expected that this government would bring public primary and secondary schools which had eluded us for decades instead of destroying businesses,” he said.

Efforts made by this reporter, Izunna Okafor, to get the reactions of Mr. Ossy Onuko, the Managing Director of ACTDA whose agency carried out the destruction, proved abortive, as he did not take his calls.

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