Traders Lament As Enugu Govt Begins Demolition Of Ogige Market 

Peter Mbah-led administration plans to build bus terminal

Enugu State government has begun demolition of some parts of the popular Ogige Market, Nsukka, Enugu State.

There are indications that the state government under the leadership of Peter Mbah plans to build a bus terminal in the area.

Our correspondent gathered that the demolition began on Monday in a part of the market along Aku road.

Traders, who were reportedly given 72 hours ultimatum to exit the Ogige market, were seen on Tuesday hurriedly evacuating their goods from their shops marked for demolition when our correspondent visited the market.

One of the traders, Mr Chinonso Cyprian, said this was not the first time the matter of demolition was brought up. According to him, it was first proposed during the Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi administration, but was vehemently opposed. “The new government came up with a mandate that we had to pay the sum of N27,000 naira as tax instead of the usual N5,000 naira and only this market refused to pay, because it was outrageous…I think that is why they continued with the plan to demolish the market,” Mr Cyprian alleged.

Mr Cyprian further alleged that some unknown people came at night to mark the areas for demolition, as they were not seen during the day. He said traders only arrived the next morning to see that various areas, beyond what was originally slated had been marked for demolition.

Many traders seem to be unaware of what is happening leading to rumours being circulated about the deadline for exit and areas affected by the demolition.

Some traders said the demolition would extend to line F of the main market which means more than half of the market is affected. They claimed that the demolition was originally slated to be within the old park and line A of the market, but as of Sunday, they began to hear rumours that they have been given 72 hours to vacate the market.

Amidst the frenzy created by the short notice as traders struggle to evacuate their goods, customers were left stranded as they now find it difficult to buy goods and access some services while traders also count losses.

“They are supposed to give us at least a six month prior notice, at least it would have helped. But to just come up and tell people to pack out, within 72 hours is too quick and it would affect a lot of people,” Mr Nelson Ikenna, another trader, cried out.

Mr Christian Onyedikachi expressed concern that the state government’s action will have serious negative impact on many people who depend on their businesses in the market to survive. According to him, some traders spent millions of naira to buy new shops not quite long and all is gone.

He said: “This will affect our businesses 100 per cent, because we are going to start afresh. Do you know what it means to not have a shop?…Many people bought new shops at N15 million naira, N19 million naira that is not up to a week and you want to demolish everything… people are going through pain.”


He also expressed worry that it might lead many youths into crimes, due to the depression and unemployment that could come as a result of the demolition.

When asked if they believe the proposed bus terminal was necessary, the traders said they don’t think so. Mr Onyedikachi said the state government has other spaces to build the bus terminal instead of demolishing the market. “This is a market that has been in existence for decades,” added.

He claimed that there are a lot of empty lands in places like Obukpa, Obimo and other places under Nsukka Local Government Area where such project can be sited instead of demolishing the market with no alternative for traders.

“They said they want to build a terminal. How would the terminal benefit us? If these traders are not here, I won’t sell. Because they make up the bulk of our customers,” Mrs Chiamaka Augustine, a Point of Sales (POS) operator in the market lamented.

She added that, “The government was supposed to be of the people, for the people, and by the people. But now the government is for the government, of the government and by the government.”

Traders call on State government to provide alternative place 

One of the affected shop owners, Mr Emeka Igwe said that he doesn’t even know the exact reason they were asked to vacate the marketplace, adding that many stories are flying around and he doesn’t know which one to believe.

He said: “Just yesterday, we were all asked to pack out of the space with immediate effect and since yesterday till now, you can see, everyone is busy packing.”

He added that nothing has been said to them by the government in terms of providing another place where they can relocate to. “We are relocating our goods to our various homes while waiting for a proper briefing on what is going on,” Igwe added.

Mrs joy, another trader in the market expressed shock over what is happening. Her words: “I came to the market yesterday and met others packing, all they said to me is to start packing before bulldozer arrives that was when it dawned on me that we are in a serious problem. “My goods, like those of others, are still here; I do not have anywhere to go; but I am packing them out of here but the neither the governor nor his officials has said anything to us or where they are relocating us to if at all they have such plans.”

An angry trader said: “There was no prior information about the proposed demolition of the market until the surprise visit yesterday by some armed officials.

“Many of us here are not aware of any proposed plan of demolishing the market until now. There is nothing of such to tell you the truth; even as we speak , there was no proper notice. In fact, the authorities yesterday ordered some traders and some shop owners to pack, but nobody has come to address us formally. We are packing and waiting to hear from the Government,” the traders, who didn’t want to be named said.

Some traders who wished to remain anonymous voiced out that they cannot challenge the state government on this action but are pleading that the government works with the leadership of Ogige Market Traders Association to provide an alternative place for them to relocate and continue their lawful businesses.Traders Lament As Enugu Govt Begins Demolition Of Ogige Market 

The traders’ union chairman and other representatives have been having series of meeting with the government officials concerning the matter. The traders were still in anticipation of the outcome of the meeting.

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