Relocation: Okorocha shuts Owerri Main Market
Owerri Main Market, Eke Onunwa on popular Douglas Road , Owerri Imo State, was yesterday shut by the government as part of efforts to get the buy-in of the traders to move from the place to another location so as to create room for expansion of the city.
The traders have been protesting the intention of the Governor Rochas Okorocha administration’s plan to move the market to another place. The locals have been citing unseen dangers that would befall the state and the town if the market is relocated from the place it currently seats.
Residents and visitors had a hectic day on Tuesday, July 4 trying to buy household items from the capital city leading to the price of commodities temporarily hitting the roof top.
Okorocha has been having a running battle with the indigene over his intention to move the market. He is poised to do it by force but the people said they are ready for the implications.
TheNiche learnt that the government closed the market to have extensive meeting with the traders and other stakeholders. It may be reopened on Wednesday, July 5 for business according to government sources.
Okorocha’s popularity has suffered of late over some of his policies which Imo People deem anti-people even though the governor claims his administration is people-centred. They have cited the cases of arbitrary demolition of structures without due regard for the wellbeing of the owners.
A similar demolition exercise happened last weekend at the popular Shell Camp Quarters, located on Orlu Road Owerri, when the governor sent his men to go and pull down buildings belonging to retired civil servants and thereby rendering them homeless and helpless.
Loud lamentation since Saturday, July 1 when Okorocha’s bulldozers made their way to the Quarters accompanied by armed miscreants clutching Dane guns and smoking Indian hemp as they shouted at the residents to dare them or be dealt with did not deter the governor.
The affected residents, mainly civil servants raised concern that demolishing their property during rainy season is the highest show of wickedness and impunity from any responsible government that swore to protect the lives and property of her citizens.
Those affected by the demolition are mainly retired civil servants, some federal and some state, and most of them said they bought the property they are living in from the Federal Government and have their Certificate of Occupancy (C-o-O) that indicates that the property was sold to them by the federal government.
One of the retired servants told TheNiche that her fence and boys quarters had been pulled down and that there is a bulldozer stationed in front of her house for no just cause.
She further said that the government has not given her any notice neither was she told any plans for compensation assuming government genuinely wants to take over her property.