Following several appeals and warnings for street traders to desist from converting Bishop Okoye Street in Mile III, Diobu, Port Harcourt to an illegal market, the Rivers State Ministry of Environment on Thursday arrested and arraigned before a sanitation court, 14 persons who allegedly flouted the order.
Addressing the traders at Bishop Okoye Street, Mile III shortly after monitoring the every Thursday sanitation exercise at parks, markets and public places the leader of the monitoring team, Deputy Director Felix Filima of the Ministry of Environment, said that government can no longer tolerate illegality in the system, especially in a situation where traders will take over public road constructed with public money and taxes and expect to have a field day. He said,” I am assuring you government is prepared to do everything to ensure that no atom of street trading exists on this road.”He warned shop owners that have attachments to remove them or show their approval from the government, saying “if it is an existing building to which you want to add another structure, you must have amendment plan, showing that this amendment is approved to be attached to the main building. Aud if it is not there, it will be declared illegal and must be demolished.” If you value your property, remove them now before we come back,” he appealed.
“For traders, Bishop Okoye is no more a safe haven for business, you must look for an alternation location to do your business. If you have paid any money to any body, it is at your own risk, because the person can not stand before the government to defend you,” Filima noted.
He maintained, that Bishop Okoye street is a by pass linking Ikwerre Road and Abuja Bypass in Mile 3 and will remain so by government order, adding that more arrests would be made when next they visit the place, and that the 14 defaulters will appear before a sanitation court as a lesson to others as well as confirming government’s seriousness over the matter.