By Chidi Nkwopara
OWERRI— IMO State Government has ordered traders and mechanics, who are still operating within Owerri municipality, to relocate immediately to the designated areas or risk commensurate sanction.
Special Adviser to the Governor on Bureau for Peace and Conflict Resolution, Mr. Peter Ohagwa, read the riot act while speaking to newsmen in Owerri.
“Traders, mechanics and artisans, who are still operating within unapproved areas within Owerri municipality, are advised to relocate immediately or be prepared to face the law,” the SA said.
Ohagwa, who also doubles as Coordinator of Relocation of Traders and Mechanics, also disclosed that every shop allocated within the state capital was free.
“Government took this decision to enable the affected traders, mechanics and artisans to relocate easily and commence their business”, Ohagwa said.
Explaining why most traders did not jump at the government’s gesture, the SA linked it to years of deceit by previous administrations.
“Some traders, mechanics and artisans are still doubting the sincerity of the government because of years of deceit by previous administrations”, Ohagwa reasoned.
While recalling that government set up ad hoc committees headed by the affected by the traders, artisans and mechanics, the SA however expressed regret that when the supposed beneficiaries did not show up, members of the committees allocated the spaces to themselves.
“That was how many traders were not able to get shops at Egbeada and Nekede Clusters, while few mechanics could not get workshop spaces at Avu”, Ohagwa said.
Answering a question, the SA said: “Government is commencing the enforcement of relocation and those who refused to own shops will now be compelled to rent shops at high cost from those who got the allocation”, Ohagwa said.