Following the directive by the Rivers State government that those engaged in street trading along major Port Harcourt roads should quit, the chairman of mile 3 Ultra Modern Market Diobu, Ikwerre road, Vincent Nnokam has warned street traders to quit roadside market or face jail terms.
Nnokam who spoke to our correspondent, Tina Stephen, noted that the market has about 500 lock-up shop spaces to accommodate the traders, stressing that they prefer to trade on the road for quicker sales.
“If the 500 lock up shops will not contain them, the management of the market in collaboration with the state government is building about 150 new shop spaces. The shops rate are not expensive, there are shops for 1500, 2000 and 3000 naira a month depending on the level of shop the trader wants. Even, there’s shop rate for 500 naira a month. They are lying that there’s no shop space.
“Each time the commissioner of Urban Development and commissioner for Special Duties come for raid, within few seconds after the raid, the traders will go back to the same spot they were chased away from. Yesterday, over 40 persons were arrested by the taskforce along Bishop Okoye street, Diobu, Portharcourt.
“Selling inside the market doesn’t cost much as those who trade on the streets of portharcourt who are forced to pay certain amounts everyday by touts. What traders do in the market is use their shops as packing store and prefer selling on the roads for quick sales”
He said further that trading on the road is dangerous as the traders can be knocked down by a vehicle and urged them not to destroy the roads that government has put a lot of effort to build.
He advised traders who feel that mile 3 market can no longer accommodate them to relocate to other neighboring markets.
Meanwhile, residents of Bishop Okoye street mile 3 Diobu have expressed delight over the removal of traders from the street.
Some of the residents who spoke to our reporter said people and motorists can now move without any form of obstruction.
They however appealed to the government to maintain the policy that has been set up to deter the traders from coming back
to the street trade.