Controversy Trails Demolition Of Market In Bayelsa | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Controversy Trails Demolition Of Market In Bayelsa

Market Demolition
Posted: Nov 1, 2016 at 7:28 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Igoniko Oduma

Yenagoa – Controversy is trailing the demolition of a mini-market named NIIT Market along the Isaac Boro Expressway in Etegwe area of Yenagoa by the Bayelsa State Environmental Sanitation Authority (BESA).

It was gathered that the chairman of BESA,Robert Enogha, mobilised an enforcement team of over 50 officers to shut down the market during the state’s monthly sanitation exercise held on Saturday.

Traders who own stalls at the market have been lamenting their losses worth millions of Naira following the demolition exercise.

Some of the traders claimed in an interview amid sobs that the agency did not give them warning notice before carrying out the action, adding that they had paid the requisite operational fee for the 2016 market year.

Counting their losses, they said the BESA officials led by Enogha destroyed their stalls, foodstuffs, fishes and other goods meant for selling.

“I was in my house cleaning our compound when somebody called me and told me that environmental sanitation people are demolishing our shops here. See, it was yesterday I went to buy about N100,000 worth of fish to sell, and now they have destroyed everything”, one of the traders, Ebiere cried.

It was also leant that some hoodlums in the area took advantage of the situation and smartly carted away some of the goods belonging to the traders.

A source however alleged that the action of BESA smacked of political witch-hunt as the NIIT Market is owned by a chieftain of the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state.

The source, who pleaded anonymity because he was not authorised to speak on the issue, said that the former APC governorship aspirant had obtained certificate of operation duly issued him by Enogha.

But the BESA boss debunked the claims of the traders, saying that notice was given to the operators of the market to remove their goods as the authority lacked the powers to give approval for the operation of a market in the state.

Enogha explained that the authority approved the site for a mini-market and a motor park, stressing that allocating stalls to operate a market was illegal because it would deface the state capital,Yenagoa.

He said, “They had applied for a (motor) park and mini-market but not a full-fledged market they were developing along the Express(way). We don’t even have the powers to approve operation of a market. It is the Ministry of Commerce or Yenagoa LGA that has such powers.

“When we saw what they were doing, we asked them to stop. A very senior citizen of this state is the one involved and he claimed to have spoken to the Governor (Seriake Dickson) whom he said would call me.

“It is within our powers to grant approval and cancel it. We had to write to the management of NIIT to cancel the