About 200 traders at the Ika Ika Oqua Market, popularly known as Marian Market, along Marian road in Calabar Municipal Local Government Area of Cross River State wept uncontrollably over the demolition of their shops and makeshift structures.
ND REPORTERS gathered that the shops were demolished on Sunday, even as the owners alleged that most of their wares were destroyed alongside the shops.
But the Commissioner for Environment, Hon Nfon Bassey said the general clean-up exercise was to make the market clean, hygienically excellent and safe.
“We are just doing a general clean-up around the Ika Ika Oqua market. As you can see, people have come to build shanties around the market and on the road, and they turned the place into a shopping centre. You can see even behind me, part of the coal-tar is being used as a refuse dump which is supposed not to be so. Before today, when you come around the market, there was no road.
“All the drainages around the market are completely blocked. As you can also see, the traders outside the building lines also brought in their own projections from their shops to the main road, thereby making this road impassable on a normal day.
“So we are just trying to sanitise the market, restore it to what it used to be and free the road. So from what we have done today, we are going to have an enforcement team to ensure that the traders do not come back, ” the Commissioner said.
Hon Nfon who lamented the attitude of the traders explained that traders and owners of the makeshift containers were given 13 months notice, “In fairness to them all, today makes it 1 year and a month that we started announcing the demolition.
“The truth is when you enter the market, most of the shops are empty. We want them to go back to their shops inside the market. We want to clean up to create enough space for vehicular movement and easy access.
“I can assure you that after today, we will have an enforcement team.
ND REPORTERS gathered that most of the illegal structures owned by some traders did not only obstruct vehicular movement but also constituteed huge nuisance because drains have been blocked, making the environment unhygienic.