890 traders displaced as Enugu gov’t demolishes market

by Adeola Balogun

A demolition crew unleashed by the Enugu State Government on the Old Park market in the state reportedly displacing 890 traders and deprived them of their source of livelihoo.

The government went ahead to do this in spite of a subsisting order laid down by a State High Court, restraining it from demolishing stalls at the market without first relocating the 890 affected traders.

The state government had last year reportedly indicated interest in relocating the traders in the market to enable it erect a shopping mall in the place and asked the affected traders to move to the new market on Aria Road.

However, when government began to issue quit notices to the affected traders, the traders proceeded to court on the ground that the so-called alternative allocation was not real. In the suit on their behalf by Ifeanyichukwu Eneh against the state government and Enugu Capital Territory, the traders had sought the protection of their property rights.

The court had, in both interim and interlocutory orders, restrained the state government from demolishing the stalls without providing alternative place to the affected traders.

In the first phase of the demolition exercise carried out under the supervision of Enugu Capital Territory Development Authority, ECTDA, about 66 stalls were brought down, while the remaining 824 were marked for demolition.

Apart from the statutory shop owners in the market, no fewer than 2,000 other traders doing business in the market are to be displaced as the state government had served a fresh eviction notice to enable it demolish the entire structures in the market with effect from today.

Some of the affected traders, who spoke on the development, yesterday, said they were shocked to arrive their shop on Friday to discover a notice from the state government, urging them to “pack out without an alternative place,” even when there was a subsisting court order barring government from demolishing the stalls.

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