Umuahia – Many traders displaced from the Umuahia main market following its closure four days ago have relocated to major streets
in the state capital.
The market was relocated to Ubani Ibeku, near Umuahia, by the state government as part its efforts to give Umuahia a facelift.
The affected traders, who still loiter around the market along Umuwaya Road, include squatters and petty traders, who usually displayed their wares within the market area and along the rail line.
A cross-section of the traders told reporters on Friday that the relocation of the market had crippled their businesses and caused untold hardships to their families.
According to them, a shop goes for N400, 000 for traders who owned shops in the old market and N500, 000 for those who did not own any.
They, however, claimed that they did not have the money to make installmental payment of N120, 000 per shop at the new market.
Mr Innocent Ogbu, a second-hand cloth trader, said the relocation was laudable, but ”ill-timed”.
”Government should have allowed us to finish the Christmas season before relocating the market.
”As you can see, my capital is not up to N120, 000, so we are in a state of uncertainty over the relocation”, he said.
Corroborating Ogbu, a yam dealer, who identified herself simply as ”Nkechi”, said that the relocation had worsened her health condition as her wares were parked in an open place in her residence.
”My health condition has worsened since Monday because of the closure of the market.
“I have no money to get a shop in the new market and above all, the new market is not ready yet so I parked my yams in my compound.
”Government should have waited until the new market has been fully completed so that traders who paid for shops at Ubani Ibeku will move straight into their new shops”, she said.
Mr Anya Ndukwe, an undergraduate, whose mother was affected by the order, said that the relocation posed a serious economic challenge to his widowed-mother.
Ndukwe said that his mother depended on her petty trading to fend for the family and his university education and that the situation would affect their means of livelihood.
”The market is our only source of livelihood and now my mother’s wares are dumped in our small apartment. We find it difficult to survive.
”If the universities reopen today, I will find it difficult to go back because my mother cannot afford the money need to return to school”, he said. (NAN)