SAN FRANCISCO, November 13, (THEWILL) – Owerri main market traders, who were relocated to the Industrial Cluster in Naze by the state government, on Monday, besieged the Imo State Government House, Owerri, in protest.
The embittered traders blocked the main gate to the Government House and vowed not to vacate the entrance until they are addressed by the state Governor, Rochas Okorocha.
Brandishing various placards and singing, the activities of the protesters hindered the free flow of traffic in and out of the compound.
The traders said part of their grievances was that while the governor demolished Owerri main market and insisted that they move to the new site, the state government still allows other traders to continue trading in the demolished market.
Addressing journalists, two of the protesting traders who identified themselves as John Okeke and Ebere Ndu, said the government sent them to the industrial market without first ensuring the success of their activities.
“The government just sent us to the Naze Industrial Cluster, but we are suffering there,” Okeke said.
“Hunger is killing most of us, as our perishable goods rot away because nobody comes to buy from us and our welfare is not guaranteed.
“They asked us to move to industrial cluster, we obeyed; but they allowed others to continue trading there.
“As I speak to you, there is trading at the demolished Owerri main market, including street trading along the Douglas road. It wasn’t part of our agreement with the government.”
On his part, Ndu complained that the relocation was affecting them negatively, adding that people prefer to shop at the demolished Owerri main market because it is closer to the town than coming to the new site at Naze.
“Our goods spoil regularly. It costs us great losses because there is no patronage. Where we are staying now is a bit far from town.
“As long as the government encourages street trading and economic activities at the demolished Owerri main market, we will not be making sales,” Ndu said.