Traders at CTC market in Ika South Local Government Area, marched out in their numbers to the residence of the Chairman of Ika Landlord/Landladies Association, Mr. Vincent Arimoku on Thursday July 30, 2020, over the planned demolition of the market and the Ten Thousand Naira they are mandated to pay for them to relocate to Edike street, and at the same time rejecting the new site.
One of the traders at the CTC market, Faith, who spoke in anguish, noted that they deemed it fit to complain to the Landlords/Landlords Association first, before taking to the street naked to curse whoever is trying to frustrate them.
According to her, two days ago, the traders received a letter from the Local Government Council that they should quit the CTC market in fourteen days, adding that they were also given a form to fill and asked to pay Ten Thousand Naira (N10,000) each for a space at Edike Street, close to Orogodo river.
She stressed that even if they were allotted space at Edike free of charge, they would not move, as the location is too risky for both them and their children, saying that they don’t want their children to get drowned in the river.
Speaking further, she said that most of them built their make shift shops with loans, and have not been able to offset the debt. Now, the Local Government is demanding them to relocate to a place where they will have to set up new structures with another loan.
She appealed to the Local Government to allocate a portion of the market to them, while they work on the other portion of the market, after which, they will move over to the part already built.
Faith also bemoaned the closeness of the 14 days ultimatum, saying that the council chairman did not consider the plight of the people before making his decision, maintaining that as one who was voted in by the people, he ought to consider how his decision would affect the masses.
In another development, Engr Mario Chikezie, who claimed he had a verbal agreement with the Council Chairman to build the CTC market in January this year, condemned the way and manner the project was awarded to another developer without considering how it affects him.
Engr. Chikezie narrated how he met with the Council Chairman to tell him of his intention to build CTC market and upgrade it to a modern market, adding that the Chairmen verbally agreed to the plan and asked him to bring a blue print.
Continuing, he stated that at that point, he informed the Council Chairman to clear the dirt in the CTC market so as to ascertain the size of the market.He said the Chairman gave him the go ahead, and that as work was ongoing, some council staff were coming to supervise what he was doing, adding that even the market union went with him to see the Chairman, as the market union said they wanted to confirm if the Chairman was aware of his presence in the market. He said the chairman told the market union that he was aware, and then noted sadly that he was disappointed when the matter got to the Police Station and the Local Government Council denied him.
He said he was accused of extorting Three Thousand Naira from the traders, but noted that it was not true, as it was the traders who voluntarily said they would pay Three Thousand Naira each to assist him in clearing the dirt when he ran out of cash.
Speaking further, he pointed out that when he was arrested by the police, he signed an undertaking that he was going to rebuild the open shops in the CTC market that he demolished, but that due to the lockdown, he couldn’t complete the work, and said that he was surprised when he resumed work at the market, he was told to stop that the project had been awarded to another company.
He said he had spent a lot of money on the CTC market project already, and wondered why the Council Chairman would treat him that way.