Abia State government says its Task Force on Environment and Allied Matters is not destroying newspaper stands in Aba or any part of the state
Addressing newsmen in Aba, chairman of the Abia State Task Force on Environment and Allied Matters, Capt Awa Udonsi Agwu (rtd), said his team has not destroyed any newspaper stand in the state, describing the reports making the rounds as coming from detractors of the Gov. Theodore Orji administration.
“We have not destroyed any newspaper stands in Aba or anywhere. Newspaper stands located on a wrong place are always advised to relocate. No member of my team has destroyed newspapers or arrested vendors. Street trading is very dangerous. What my team is doing is to clean up the city. We will see some traders blocking the road with their wares, obstructing the flow of traffic. Others display theirs on top of drainages. We have been able to stop street trading. We have been very civil in the execution of our duties. The Task Force boasts of highly educated people who cannot stoop low to destroy newspapers or businesses. So, reports of the team destroying newspaper stand in Aba or anywhere is baseless and in bad faith,” he said.
Udonsi accused the detractors of playing politics with the well being of the people and called on them to turn a new leaf.
“You know this is the area of politics. It is unfortunate that our people play politics with everything. In our assignment, we have been very cautious because we know the detractors are looking for a way to blackmail the governor.”
During a visit to some newspaper stands in the city, most newspaper vendors interviewed said nobody destroyed their newspapers. Others said the team only advised them to withdraw from the road in places where the stands were wrongly placed.
A newspaper vendor at the fence of the headquarters of Aba South local council, who simply gave his name as Awa told newsmen that the Task force had never destroyed his newspapers or stands. Another vendor at Aba Main Motor Park, Kelechi said the team only advised him to withdraw from the edge of the road where his stand was placed but alleged that an unnamed member of the team destroyed his stool, a claim which the chairman of the Task Force should have been reported to him.
At the Pound road Junction, a young man who owned the newspaper stand also confirmed that the team has never destroyed his newspapers.
The Chairman of the Task Force further took newsmen to a spot at the Azikiwe by Asa road junction where there existed a newspaper stand which he relocated to a safer place after the junction. A middle aged man who manned the stand said nobody has disturbed him since he relocated to the new place.
It would be recalled that the Aba Newspapers and Magazines Distributors Association had in a press statement made available to journalists in Aba threatened to stop the sales and distribution of newspapers in the city, alleging that the Abia State Task Force on Environment and Allied Matters has been destroying newspaper stands in the commercial city and appealed to Gov. Orji to come to their aid.