… Govt Decongests, Sacks Traders
By Cynthia Igbokwe
It was cheering news for the users of the Pedestrian Crossing at UNIZIK Junction Awka, last Monday, when the Anambra State Government moved into action to sack the street traders and decongest the bridge.
The action came days after Fides ran a story about how the bridge had been turned to an emergency market by people selling all manner of goods, while beggars besieged it.
The operation, Fides learnt, was led by the Transition Committee Chairman of Awka South Local Government area, Mr Leo Nwuba, shortly after Fides Newspaper reported on the congestion and difficulties experienced by road users, with hawkers taking over most of the pedestrian bridge.
Sources said, the Awka South Local Government Chairman swung into action after reading the report in Fides last weekend.
Speaking during the exercise, Mr. Nwuba stressed the need to reduce the carnage on that axis of the road, while disclosing government’s decision to build the bridge to help people cross the road safely.
He also said that the day’s exercise was to stop people who were converting the bridge into a market, which, he said, defeated the reason for which it was built.
The Chairman revealed that the council had on several occasions issued notices and series of announcements to sway the traders from trading on the bridge. He noted that if allowed, they would gradually turn the bridge into a breeding hub for minor criminal activities.
Nwuba assured that henceforth, security operatives would be stationed at the bridge daily, alongside a task force, to confiscate and arrest anyone found selling on the bridge.
He advised the traders to identify with the various markets in the capital city, rather than converting the pedestrian bridge to a mini market.
Later when speaking with Fides on the phone, the chairman said the exercise would be a regular one and that he would meet with his security officers to ensure a round the clock monitoring of the bridge.
He described the activities going on at the bridge as an eyesore which would not be allowed to continue, even as he believed that some of the beggars were criminals who faked disability.
Nwuba said the beggars could beg anywhere else, including in front of their homes, markets local government secretariats or churches, just as he remarked that begging was alien to Igbo culture and should not be encouraged.
He reiterated his directive to the traders to take their business elsewhere as there were many markets in the state capital, including the popular night market called ”Afia 6”.
The Awka South Council boss warned that henceforth anyone caught either doing business on the pedestrian bridge or begging would face the full wrath of the law.