ODAHIEKWU OGUNDE, YENAGOA
Traders in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State capital, have gone on the rampage over the demolition of their wares and makeshift stores by the state government’s team on illegal structures.
On Wednesday, traders around the Etegwe-Edepie area of the Yenagoa metropolis lamented that the government destroyed their means of livelihood without providing alternatives for them.
The ongoing demolition is part of the urban renewal programme of the Governor Douye Diri-led administration to restore the state capital and keep it clean.
It was gathered that the government team destroyed tables and umbrellas as well as burnt wares at trading spots around the Etegwe-Edepie roundabout on Tuesday evening.
The government had in the previous weeks carried out similar action in other parts of Yenagoa, including Swali Market, Imgbi Road, Amarata, Onopa and Azikoro Road.
The protesting traders lamented hardship in Bayelsa and chanted ‘Douye Diri give us market’ while expressing displeasure over the government’s approach to urban renewal, saying it lacked a human face.
Some of the angry traders, who spoke with FirstNews, complained that they would find it difficult to cater to their families’ needs because of the government’s action.
One of the protesters, Juliana Bennett, appealed to the government to allow them use their trading spots to sell their wares in order to survive hunger until a new site is provided.
She said: “Where does the government want us to go? We are managing our lives and those of our children with the small things that we sell under umbrellas.
“The government has not built a market in this area, so where do they expect us to stay and sell? After all, government is not feeding anybody. We are struggling to make ends meet.”
However, the State Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of operations, Aminu Alhassan, who visited the scene of protest, promised them that he would convey their appeal to the government.