Demolition: Stranded market women beg wike for space


A group of market women, who once sold foodstuff at the recently demolished Afikpo Market in Mile One, Diobu axis of Port Harcourt, has appealed to the State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, to provide another space for them where they can continue their business.

The state government had demolished the market as a result of sanitation challenges caused by the Afikpo Market traders, who also blocked a major road in the state capital.

But the market women, who gathered at the demolished market, told Southern City News that they could no longer fend for themselves and their families as a result of the demolished market.

One of them, Mrs. Amaka Eze, explained that 35 per cent of market women who operated at the demolished Afikpo market, were widows that were still training their children in school.

Mrs. Eze, who is the Secretary, Afikpo Market Traders Association, disclosed that they were given only a day notice before the bulldozers came in and demolished the market.

She said, “We are not protesting and there is nothing we can do since they removed us from here. We are just here to see what the state government can do to help us. Last week Wednesday, they just brought the notice that we should vacate here.

“We were given just one-day notice. Government officials came in here. They started at this other side and said we should remove everything. We thought it was a joke, but by Wednesday, the bulldozers came in and removed everything.

“Those who were able to remove their tables did so and those who could not, their tables were thrown into the fire. Since then, for a week now, we have not been selling; they have destroyed the structures.

“Our appeal to the state government is that they should allow us to stay on this part they have finished grading and sell our goods.

“We have children to take care of. Government should provide us another space to sell our goods. My son, who is in primary school just trekked from Mile 4 down to Mile One here because there is no money to give him for transportation. Thirty-five per cent of women selling in Afikpo market are widows. We are appealing to government to help us.”

Also, another market woman, Mrs. Victoria Amadike, said Afikpo market had been in existence for the past 40 years, adding that the demolition of the market came as a shock to her.

Explaining that she was selling foodstuff in the market before it was demolished, Mrs. Amadike appealed to the state governor to allow them (market women) to continue with their business within a point in the market.

“We are pleading with government to allow us to stay here because this market is a widows’ market. It is through this market the widows feed themselves and their children.

“For now, we don’t have any other place to sell our foodstuff. I sell garri and salad in the market. We are begging government to give us another space if we can’t go back to Afikpo market,” she added.

A fish seller, who simply identified himself as Ediobong, observed that they were sent out of the market before it was demolished because some of them (traders) were blocking some parts of the road while selling their goods.

“They said we were blocking the road. We have begged them and told them that we will not block the road again, but they just came in and began to demolish the market.”

One of the officials from the State Urban Development Ministry told Southern City News that the state government was working towards bringing back Port Harcourt to its Garden City status.

According to the state government official, “It is wrong for every place to be made a market place. Even the Commissioner for Urban Development said that the state governor was interested in showcasing the garden city status of Port Harcourt.

“Some of the market women showed resistance by even fighting us, but you cannot fight government, especially when government is interested in the good of all.”

10 thoughts on “Demolition: Stranded market women beg wike for space

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *