Dealers in telephone accessories on Tuesday blocked roads in Makurdi metropolis as Benue state government demolished several illegal structures housing their trade wares.
Our correspondent reports that the stiff resistance by the traders who were mostly young people at the Katsina-Ala street, GSM village, however, aborted the exercise from continuing as security agents overseeing the demolition withdrew probably to avert chaos.
Earlier, the owners of the containers and other youths blocked the street to prevent the police and staff of the Benue State Urban Development Board (UDB) from carrying out the demolition.
The state’s Urban Development Board had however before discontinuing the exercise pulled down at least a total of 28 illegal structures including two containers on Katsina-Ala handset village, two on Otukpo road as well as 14 shanties on Radio Benue way.
Our correspondent reports that it however took the intervention of soldiers who were swiftly deployed to the area to quell tension and unblock the road.
Patrick Akor, who is the leader of the Handset Communication Repairers at Kastina-Ala street, told journalists that the destruction of their business shelters was done without any prior notice by the agency.
“This is what we do to earn a living and now, they have demolished them without prior notice and we have been paying revenue to government,” Akor said.
But, the Acting General Manager, Benue State Urban Development Board, Ternongo Mede, said the board had held several meetings with the leaders before embarking on the demolition.
He explained that the essence of the demolition was part of deliberate plans by government to give Makurdi, the state capital a befitting status.
Mede decried the situation where most of the structures are situated around electricity transformer thereby constituting risk to lives, adding that some structures are mounted by the roadside impeding traffic and danger to commuters.
He explained, “We are doing the exercises for the good of the state. Outside here, people tell you that Makurdi is a glorified village, how does that feel? We have informed them over four months to leave. How can they be operating surrounding a transformer? What if something happens.
“We have areas like the ultra-modern market where they could do their business. How can they come and sit on the road ways, reducing the size of the road. We have started from the Kastina Ala street. We will get to GSM village at Titogate and somewhere around BNARDA and on George Akume road. We are now carrying out the operation and I wonder why the people are crying.
“We want to restore the town (Makurdi) to its original glory. They (traders) can find places in the new international market or elsewhere in the town. After this exercise, we will face Wurukum market. We want to address the issue before Christmas periods.”