• As rural poor homes of 30,000 Bayelsans displaced
By Jones Abiri, South /South Bureau Chief (www.247ureports.com)
She looked worried and downcast, like other traders, Uforma P. John appears to
still be counting her losses over the demolition of the Bob Tell market
along Shell Ramp – thanks to the Bayelsa State Government Task Force.
Commercial activities at the market, a major hub of cheap second-hand
clothes, shoes, books and food stuff, popularly called Bob Tell
Market, Yenagoa, ended yesterday as a result of the demolition.
As 247ureports.com gathered, the market had served over 50, 000 traders.
But the demolition of yesterday rendered the traders jobless as many now roam the
streets for alternatives, while some of the traders are seen gathered in groups
discussing the development. Others were seen picking things from the
in the words of Uforma P. John, “To be honest, where to go is a problem now. I have a
family that has to cater for. I know how much I have lost since my
shop was demolished. I am frustrated. I don’t have any other place to
stay. I have been here for two years. My family is hungry. My children
school fees which I need money to offset their bills are at stake. I
am still confused about where to pitch my tent again.”
Meanwhile, Chinedu, another trader, criticized the government for the demolition claiming the traders were neither informed nor given quit notice. He said: “I have three children and a wife. It has been very hard for
me because to eat is a problem now”.
Other unhappy traders roaming the demolished market, who had hoped that the government gave notice, said they got a shocker as the shops and stalls in the market were demolished by government bulldozers.
The state government through one of its agencies, Capital City Development
Authority (CCDA) rolled out their bulldozers to Bob Tell Market
opposite the modern Swali market entrance to pulled down Stores and
block buildings without any assessment to enable those affected to
recover part of their expenses.
The traders and landlords who made frantic effort to appeal to
government to rescind their decision – for a little time – were turned down.
Two land lords, Mr. Innocent Fefegha and Bethel Fefegha whose block
buildings and Batchers were destroyed beyond recognition lamented
profusely to this reporter that the government’s action without prior
notice is uncalled for because for a normal society, those that may be
affected as a result of the demolition exercise be informed to enable
traders put their goods in place or be relocated before any action but
in this case it was not so, they remarked.
Innocent Fefegha who is an undergraduate law student at the State
owned Niger Delta University that use the proceed of his house rent to
sponsor self now could not afford tuition fees and feeding to complete
his programme, he said.
When this reporter visited the market, many of the traders gathered in
pensive mood, while some of them tried to sort out part of their
stalls they could still salvage.
They lamented that the demolition had now finally put to rest their
life expectation. A trader, who sold provision in the market, Samuel
Alabo, said, “You can see we are all sitting here now with no clue as
to what step to take next. If we have another source of livelihood we
would not be here right now.
“This is our lives and this is all we know. We have families, but how
do we take care of them now? Most of us here are graduates. We came
here because of unemployment, which is a general issue in the
The traders lamented that their situation had become more hopeless
because no provision had been made for a temporary market place for
them to use.
Success Jacob, who sold clothing in the market, told our reporter, “Do
you know how many traders do business here? Do you know how many
dependants each trader has to take care of from their business? If you
don’t know, there are at least 15,000 traders here.
“But I don’t know why government think cutting off the head is the
cure for a headache. Right now everything is in the hands of God but
many of us are still very confused. The government would definitely
want to say they have a reason for the demolition. But did they
consider us that are directly affected by their decision?”
Some of the traders said they made as much as N30, 000 each day before
the market was demolished.
“Now imagine how much someone who makes as much as that has lost in
this. It is very painful for us now that the market has been
demolished,” Mrs. Ovieteme Rita said.
The traders said they were unlucky with their goods when they could
not remove them from the market before the bulldozers moved in.
Bob Tell Market which in direct opposite to the Swali Market is a
major assorted centre in the Yenagoa metropolis where patrons have
opportunity to buy items at relatively cheap prices.
However, effort to contact the Commissioners for Environment and
Capital City Development proved abortive. Dr. Sylvanus Abila and
Barrister Zuwa Konugha phones were switched off when our reporter
made attempts to contact them on the demolition.