(Yenagoa) Traders at the popular Global System for Mobile (GSM) communication Village in Tombia roundabout in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, has lamented the demolition of their stalls and loss of goods worth billions of naira.
They called on the state government to open the borders, closed as a result of the covid 19 pandemic, so they can go back to their villages since all their source of income has been destroyed in a manner that is sinister and wicked.
The security component of the Bayelsa State Covid 19 task force had in the early hours of Sunday began demolishing of all illegal structures at the Tombia market.
While the traders says they were not given proper notice of the action as most of them are on lockdown at home, the government claimed that prior notices were sent to them via radio and flyers.
Speaking yesterday, an emotional Chairman of he GSM Market Traders Union, William Eze, lamented the manner the government on a holy Sunday morning, decided to destroyed a markets that provides over 2000 jobs at a time when families can hardly feed as result of the pandemic.
He said, “The truth of the matter is that as a Chairman, I didn’t get any official notice. Yesterday, being Saturday, you know we are having lockdown, so as a chairman, I was supposed to be in my house, to respect the order of Bayelsa state Government.
“As chairman of the market I was supposed to be the first to get the notice but I didn’t get any until yesterday when my Chief Security Officer hinted me on it and I called some official but they denied on,y for me to hear this morning that the markets and shops are being destroyed.
“Here is the only GSM phone village in Bayelsa, the Governor would have looked for another place and build for us to rent. Since 2013, we have been writing to Bayelsa state Government that we need a permanent site because this place cannot contain us.
“We are more than 4,000 people here so this place cannot contain us. So Government should have first build another place first, locate us to that place and let us do our normal and genuine business.
“Now you have come and destroyed it, What do you want people to do? Remember that the borders are closed because if Covid 19. They have destroyed our shop, our source of livelihood, our income, there is no reason to remain in Bayelsa state, let them please open the borders and let us go home to our villages before we die of hunger here.
“They have not served me any notice and I want to appeal to Bayelsa state Government, let them open up the road because this time around we need to go because you are locking us down, you are destroying our property. So we don’t have any source of income than to go to down to our villages.”
Also speaking, a shop owner, Samuel Awode, who said he lost millions of Naira, lamented that the manner of the demolition of the shops at the phone market was sinister and wicked.
However, the South South Coordinator of the youths wing of Ohaneze Ndigbo, Chief Chinedu Arthur-Ugwa, called for calm, calling on the government on the need to quickly address the traders to alleviate their suffering.
Reacting to the demolition, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information and Orientation and member Bayelsa State Task Force On Covid-19, Freston Akpor, said prior notice was given to the traders to vacate the markets.
He said though no written notice was given to the head of the traders association because of they are not recognized, but said flyers were sent to the markets prior to the demolition.
He called for calm saying the reason for the illegal structures demolition in the state was for the good of all people.