–Blank NEWS Online (NIGERIA) –By Albert OGRAKA:
Informed by myriad of criticisms on the recent clean-up exercises by agents of the Delta State Capital Territory Development Agency, the Director-General Hon. Mrs. Joan Onyemaechi Mrakpor, has offered to pay for an open space to accommodate street traders evacuated from the private market at Midwifery Junction, along Okpanam Road, Asaba, the Delta State capital.
A statement signed by the Special Assistant to the Director General, Fortune Ngozi Onwordi and made available to Blank NEWS Online, noted that the items sold by the traders are essential commodities, she said buyers will always seek them out to patronize them, irrespective of their location in the market.
“I will pay for a space to accommodate you inside the market as long as you keep off from trading at the setback. You must not stand by the middle of the road or litter the environment in the name of making ends meet,” Mrakpor said.
Residents around the market and shop owners have supported the evacuation of the street traders, saying that they have been at loggerheads will the street traders who barely allow their customers access into the market. The story was similar for a widow, who lives close to the market. According to her, the fence of her house has been converted to shops by traders with illegal attachments and shanties depriving her access into her home.
Since the evacuation of the traders, the crippling traffic gridlock that was a permanent feature in the area is now a thing of the past as motorcycle operators, popularly referred as “Okada riders” have been shifted to a park located 100 metres away from the Asaba – Okpanam dual carriage way.
On the sustainability of the exercise, Mrs. Mrakpor expressed optimism that with continuous monitoring, the exercise will be sustained.
“His Excellency, Sen. Ifeanyi Okowa has approved the employment of 40 environmental monitors, whose job is to ensure that the places we have cleaned up remain clean. He also approved an increment in the salaries of Road Sanitation Officers who we have been assigned to different locations to keep the city clean,” Mrakpor, a former member of House of Representatives, said.
In addition, “we initiated beautification of some areas such as Summit Junction, from Legislator’s Quarters to the U-turn after Akpụ Junction, along Okpanam Road, etc. Thesame activities can be seen going on around DLA junction. I am sure that nobody will trade on green areas.”
On the palliatives to cushion the effect on affected traders, she said the Agency is presently building vendor zones for specific businesses in different parts of the city. Displaced traders who have applied for a space in the designated vendor zones will be allocated to a shop upon its completion.
The fruit arenas/vendor zones are located at the old bus park at FMC, Summit Junction, NTA Road and Akpụ Junction.