Scores of Bayelsa women on Wednesday took to the streets of Yenagoa to protest the ongoing demolition of their shops by officials of the state government.
The women mostly traders, blocked the Tombia axis of the state capital, calling on the government to have mercy on them and halt the demolition exercise, else they become beggars or take to stealing and prostitution.
They said the government’s decision would not have been opposed if alternatives were provided for them, adding that the notice mandating them to vacate the area was equally too short.
One of the women, Madam Ebi Wilson, said they were not adequately pre-informed before the action commenced which has led to the loss of some of their goods, with threat of hunger and starvation now facing them.
She said: “They didn’t tell us they were coming, if not we would have cleared our goods. We only heard that yesterday (Tuesday) morning and before we will open our eyes they had arrived and started the demolition.
“The government is doing this without any form of alternative or compensation, some of us are starting our businesses from scratch after the Covid-19 pandemic and now this. It is a very unfortunate situation”.
Another trader, Charity Moses said when they saw the demolition team coming, they quickly packed up and hid their goods, but members of the team brought out the goods and destroyed them.
She also called on the government to provide alternatives for them as many of them do not have the capital to start over again, stressing that life will be difficult for them if they have nothing to fall back to.
“We pay our children’s school fees and other bills from this business. Now with this what do they want us to do. I have four children, how will I feed them? How will I pay their school fees because I am both their father and mother? The government should help us, we are begging”.
The state government had on Monday stated that its Urban Renewal Programme in the state capital was on course and as such residents should adhere to it.
The Commissioner for Information, Orientation and Strategy, Hon. Ayiba Duba had in a statement warned the traders along the Etegwe/Tombia Roundabout to vacate the place or risk possible arrest and prosecution.
He stated that the government considers traders refusal to heed to notices as a deliberate attempt to sabotage the ongoing urban renewal programme.