Hundreds of traders who were relocated to Industrial Cluster Naze, after the demolition of the Eke Ukwu Owerri market said they blocked the gates of Government House, Owerri because there is nothing on ground at the cluster area for them to carry out their businesses.
The angry traders had barricaded the entrance gates of the State seat of power vowing not to leave until Governor Rochas Okorocha address them.
The Governor never showed up.
Brandishing various placards and chanting war songs, security men at the Government House, tried in vain to control the traders to allow free flow of traffic in and out of the compound.
Okeke said, “The government just sent us to the Naze Industrial Cluster, but we are suffering there.
“Hunger is killing most of us, as our perishable goods rot away because nobody comes to buy from us and our welfare is not guaranteed.”
The traders said part of their grievances was that while the governor demolished Owerri main market and insisted that they move to the new site, the state government still allows other traders to continue trading in the demolished market.
“They asked us to move to industrial cluster, we obeyed; but they allowed others to continue trading there.
“As I speak to you, there is trading at the demolished Owerri main market, including street trading along the Douglas road. It wasn’t part of our agreement with the government,” Okeke said.
Ndu complained that the development was affecting them, adding that people prefer to make purchases at the demolished Owerri main market because it is closer to the town than coming to the new site at Naze.
“Our goods spoil regularly. It costs us great losses because there is no patronage. Where we are staying now is a bit far from town.
“As long as the government encourages street trading and economic activities at the demolished Owerri main market, we will not be making sales,” Ndu said.
The traders said they were at the Government House to ensure that Governor Okorocha orders every trader to the new site.
As of the time of filing this report, no government official has addressed the protesters.