Traders, artisans weep as OCDA demolishes shops, business centres in Imo

Artisans and traders at Perry Nwanguma, around 40-40 Junction, new Owerri, the Imo State capital, watched helplessly on Tuesday as officials of the Owerri Capital Development Authority (OCDA) demolished many shops and business centres in the area.

BBNAIJA ONLINE” gathered that traders and other artisans operating in the area counted their losses shortly after bulldozers turned their goods, stores into rubble around 8am yesterday.

Our correspondent was informed that some traders and artisans hurriedly moved out some of their wares and tools, while many of them could not because of the 24-hour short notice by the state government agency.

They described the OCDA demolition exercise as a disaster.

Many others interviewed while packing their wares expressed fears that hardship awaits many of them if the Imo State Government continues the demolition exercise.

One of the affected traders , Mr Uche Iwu said, “We don’t have shanties here , what we have here are shops and business centres. If the Imo State Government is serious about demolishing shanties they should go to Ama-Awusa by Douglas Road, not here. We believe that this government is not sincere.

“If they want to chase us away, they should at least give us an alternative but it just gave us one days’ notice to leave.”

Recall that the Imo State Government had ordered traders, mechanics and other artisans operating in shanties on Monday to vacate the IMSU back gate to Chukwuma Nwoha Road extending to Egbu Road, Hospital junction to World Bank roundabout.

Other roads mentioned include Assumpta Roundabout and Control by post, Orji Flyover and its environs, Amakohia Flyover and it environs, Akwakuma roundabout, Emmanuel College roundabout, Royce Road/Rotibi Street, Mbaise Road by Douglas roundabout and all other areas within the capital territory where shanties are located.

The warning was issued by Engr Innocent Ikechukwu Ikpamezie, General Manager, Owerri Capital Development Authority (OCDA).

Ikpamezie said owners of the shanties and street traders are advised to remove and evacuate Immediately.

He said the exercise will be carried out by OCDA in conjunction with ENTRACO and other relevant government agencies that are poised to ensure the sanitization of all streets and prosecute offenders.

The sanitization exercise will also involve the eradication of street trading within and around the government house roundabout.