Chidiebube Okeoma, Owerri
Scores of traders who were relocated to Industrial Cluster ,Naze, after the demolition of Owerri main market by the state government on Monday barricaded the Imo state government House in Owerri in protest.
The embittered traders who blocked the government main gate causing panic in the area, said that they won’t vacant the entry gate until governor Rochas Okorocha, addressed them.
Clutches various placards and singing songs of sodality, the government House security men who were bearing arms battled in the vain to have them allow free flow of traffic in and out of the state’s seat of power.
Addressing journalists, two of the protesting traders who identified themselves as John Okeke and Ebere Ndu ,said that the government sent them to industrial market without making effort to ensure that they survived or not.
According to Okeke who was visibly enraged “the government just sent us to the Naze Industrial cluster for selfish reason.we are suffering there. Hunger is killing must of us.our perishable goods get destroyed because nobody comes to buy from us and our welfare is not guaranteed”.
The trader disclosed that part of their grievances was that while the Governor demolished Owerri main market and insisted that they moved to the new site,the state government still allowed other traders to be trading at the demolished market.
” They asked us to move to industrial cluster we obeyed.but they allowed others to be trading there.as I speak to you there is trading at the demolished Owerri main market even street trading along the Douglas road.it wasn’t part of our bargain with government “.the trader said.
Ndu,complained that the development was affecting them,adding that people preferred to buy at the demolished Owerri main market which is closer to the town than coming to patronize them at the new site at Naze.
” our goods spoil in our hands. It costs us great losses because there are no patronages from people because where we are staying now is a bit far from town.As long as the government encourages street trading and at the demolished Owerri main market, we will not be making sells”.Ndu said.
The traders said that the were at the government House to ensure that the Governor orders that every trading would only be allowed at the new site.
As of the time of filing this report ,no government official had officially addressed the protesters ,even as the traders continued to take hold of the government House main gate ,causing motorists to take alternative route or get stock.