Rivers state Government Declares War against street Market

Rivers state Government Declares War against street Market 

The Rivers State Executive Council has set up a Special Task Force chaired by the state Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike to clear illegal traders from major roads and streets in Port Harcourt and its environs.

In a statement issued shortly after the State Executive Council meeting, last Wednesday, the Commissioner for Information and Communications, Barrister Emma Okah said the decision to set up a high-powered task force was to demonstrate the irreversible determination of the state government to rid major roads in the state of the environmental hazards and sanitary embarrassment and nuisance which the activities of illegal traders were inflicting on the state and her people.

The statement reads in part, “The Government notes with sadness the recalcitrance of these street traders who have continuously dared the efforts of government to keep our roads and environment clean.

“Sadly, they mess up the environment, litter the roads, cause disorder and contribute nothing by way of tax or otherwise to clean their mess.
“As a government, we owe a duty to those we serve to protect the environment, enhance sanitation and promote order in our state,” Okah said, noting that “illegal traders in our major roads are on the wrong side of the law and will face the right music.
“Consequently, from Thursday, April 12, 2018, the governor of Rivers State will lead members of the Special Task Force, in the first phase of their mandate, to flush illegal traders from the roads and affected streets and restore normalcy. The exercise will be a continuing one until the ugly situation is reversed.
“However, it is necessary to warn that in the course of this exercise, traders caught by the special task force may lose their goods, suffer arrest, face prosecution and possible jail term upon conviction.

“If this happens the consequences may be unpleasant and unattractive for anyone to test the will of the special task force.
“Major roads and spots to be cleared by the task force in the first phase of this exercise include Bishop Okoye Street in Diobu, Garrison, Nitel near Garrison, GRA 2 junction, other parts of GRA Phase 2 where illegal trading is going on, Old GRA, Ikwerre Road, Wimpey Junction, Trans Amadi, etc”, the statement added.

Meanwhile, some street traders in the Diobu axis of Port Harcourt last Wednesday appealed to the Rivers State Government to provide them affordable market stalls before enforcing its ban on street trading.
The traders spoke to newsmen in reaction to the government’s recent seven-day ultimatum banning trading activities along Bishop Okoye Street in Diobu, Port Harcourt.

According to them, it would be unfair for the government to drive them out of business without providing an alternative place from them.
One of the traders, Mrs Kechi Wechie, who sells vegetables, appealed to the government not to be hasty about banning trading along Bishop Okoye Street.
“We are aware that we trade along the road; but we have nowhere to go from here, we implore the government to help us.

“What we do here is petty trading, we will be happy to access affordable stalls with the assistance of the government,’’ Wechie said.
On his part, Archibong Matthew, a grinding machine operator, expressed concern at the notice that government had given the traders to quit trading along that street.
“It is from the proceeds of my activities here that I assist my younger ones in school; I pray this notice will not be enforced.

“I will be the greatest victim, I wonder the excuse to give to those that depend on me, I beg the state government to please change its mind,’’ he said.
Our correspondent reports that some residents of Mile Three, Diobu, in the Port Harcourt City Local Government Area of Rivers State had in the past appealed to the state government to stop traders from selling along Bishop Okoye Street.
They alleged that the traders there were fond of displaying fish, vegetables and other edibles in the open along the filthy street.

They alleged that they had since stopped buying things displayed on the street for fear of being infected by disease from such items.
In another development, the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has declared that the construction of West Africa’s largest supermarket in Nigeria underscores the importance of Port Harcourt as an investment destination.
Speaking after inspecting the ongoing construction of Next Shopping Mall at the Trans-Amadi area of Port Harcourt, recently, Wike stated that his administration would support the investor by reconstructing the roads leading to the mall.
The governor expressed satisfaction with the investment, which he said would create employment opportunities for residents and the host community.
He thanked the private investor, Mr Ndibe Obi for choosing Port Harcourt for the mall, saying that the city has all the facilities that would attract credible private investors.

Wike said: “I am highly impressed by what I have seen here today. We will encourage the investor who has put in his resources and time to see that this is done in Port Harcourt. We encourage others to come to Port Harcourt.
“In supporting him, we will make sure that the roads leading to this facility are reconstructed to enhance the value of the shopping mall.
“I have never seen anything like this in any part of this country. If this becomes operational, it will send signals to other people that the best place to invest is Port Harcourt”.

Wike said: “So, I thank the private investor for choosing Port Harcourt to build this kind of supermarket”.
In his remarks, the Private Investor, Mr Ndibe Obi said that the mall would house an 11,000-square metre supermarket which would sell all types of products.
Obi said that facility would create 600 direct and indirect employments for residents of the state and the host community