…Seek alternative shops in nearby streets
By Kelechi Esogwa-Amadi
While the 3-week quit notice given to traders, mechanics and dealers at the Ikoku Spare Parts Market in Mile 2, Port Harcourt, continues to generate controversy, with well-meaning individuals and civil society groups questioning the rationale behind the sudden eviction order, the traders are still pleading with the alleged investors rumoured to have acquired the land to give them more time to look for alternative shops.
Chairman of the traders under the aegis of Ikoku Motor Spare Parts Dealers Association, High Chief Anthony Alaribole Iwu, told TPCN on Saturday that they are still hopeful that their request for more time would be granted.
He had earlier called on the Rivers State Government to intervene in the matter by prevailing on those behind the quit notice to be more patient with them, as it would not be too easy for the traders to organize themselves and rent shops within just three weeks given the challenges they had faced since this year.
Speaking to TPCN’s correspondent, Kelechi Esogwa-Amadi, High Chief Anthony Alaribole Iwu said: “What we are fighting for is for more time to be given to us and we’re still on it,” adding that they have channelled their request to the appropriate authorities.
Asked if there was hope that their effort would be fruitful, Iwu answered in the affirmative.
“Yes, we’re hopeful that they will consider our plight and give us some time to organize ourselves,” he said.
“There are rumours that the owners of the Ikoku Spare Parts Market land have sold if for over four billion naira (N4,000,000,000.00) to investors who want to use it to build a school. While some of the rumour mongers claim that the investors are foreign businessmen, others claim that the land was acquired by the Rivers State Government through some individuals fronting as investors”.
However, none of these rumours have been confirmed as at press time, although TPCN investigations are still ongoing.
Meanwhile, following the sudden quit notice given to them few weeks ago, some of the Ikoku traders have invaded the nearby streets in Mile 2, Port Harcourt, looking for every available space, room, shop or house to rent or buy and convert to the equipment store.
TPCN investigations showed that in streets such as Adelabu, Azikiwe by Ojoto, Abel Jumbo, Echue, among others in Mile 2, it is now difficult to see any vacant room or shop as they have been rented by desperate Ikoku traders who are under pressure to save their equipment.