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Delta Govt says Demolished Abraka market was hideout for criminals

..Orders traders to relocate or face arrest

Days after bulldozing all the structures at the popular Abraka Market, the Delta state government has explained that it took the action because the market had become a hideout for criminals.

Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa who spoke on Saturday, after inspecting the demolished Abraka Market, disclosed that the state government had ordered the relocation of the traders in order to nip in the bud, the security challenges posed by the market and give Asaba a facelift.

“The place was such that it was already creating a security problem for us and unfortunately we have found that a lot of people were developing brothels in that place. Beyond that, it has become a criminal hide-out and we took that decision at the state security council that we needed to ensure that we are able to secure Asaba,” said Okowa.

The market, located along Asaba-Benin Expressway, which before now had been seen as Hausa Settlement area in Asaba, also houses traders who deal in all sorts of items, including foodstuffs, cosmetics, jewelries, and clothing materials, among others.

The demolition was part of the state government’s plan to keep Asaba Clean, hence the exercise commenced a few months ago by Asaba Development Authority led by the Director-General, Onyemaechi Mrakpor. It has led to the bulling down of many shops believed to have been built on the state’s right of way.

With the demolition, Abrakar traders have joined the list of thousands of displaced traders in the state capital territory even in this Coronavirus ((COVID–19) pandemic period when most businesses in Nigeria and globally are negatively impacted as a result of lockdown.

Governor Okowa said in the government’s plan, to secure Asaba, it was agreed that there was the need for the whole of that place to be bulldozed and people there relocated to another part of Asaba. He said that relocation has already been done and the place has been brought down.

“Now, we are going to think through and see what development we can bring to that place to put it into good use but apparently, the aim for which it was done has already been achieved,”’ he  said.

He explained that the government was working with various ministries and our Delta Investment Development Agency (DIDA) “to see what we are going to put in that place because it’s a sizeable land in a prime location that can be used for something useful”.

The governor warned that any unauthorized person found there henceforth would be arrested and made to contend with the law, even as he advised former traders at the market to relocate as government was strategizing on how to put the hectares of land into good use.

He explained that the demolition was not to witch hunt anyone but a deliberate effort to avoid using the land as a den of criminals.

Okowa sued for peace and unity among residents of the state, and assured that his administration would continue to take decisions that would be to the advantage of all.

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