Anambra State sacks 2000 shops, 4000 traders displaced

By Ologeh Joseph Chibu

Over 4,000 residents and have been displaced in Anambra State following the sacking of 2000 shops the authorities considered illegal.

Those affected were traders, sand miners, and business owners in Onitsha, Anambra State.

The enraged traders said they have been denied their livelihood after they were rendered homeless.

The affected included families and entrepreneurs.

They expressed their grievances to Irohinodua in phone chats revealing that they were forcibly ejected from their homes and businesses without prior notice and without the opportunity to salvage their belongings.

“We are more than 4000 traders displaced. There was no prior warning. The Government just came and sacked all of us. Our means of survival has been totally destroyed,” Mr Emma Ejiofor who sells spared parts in the market told Irohinoodua.

The Chairman of Onitsha South Local Government Area, Emeka Orji who supervised the demolition on Monday, defended the demolition citing the removal of “illegal structures.”

He said the state needed to address recurring building collapses.

But some of the traders said they legally acquired their properties through the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) long before the current administration.

The demolition, which affected over 2,000 shops and residential buildings, was triggered by recent building collapses in the Fegge and Ochanja areas of Onitsha, resulting in fatalities and injuries.

In the aftermath of the collapsed building, tragically, at least six individuals lost their lives, while more than 20 others suffered injuries of varying severity and had to be rescued from the debris.

The demolished structures, primarily owned by members of the Sand Miners Association of Anambra State and petty traders, were situated along the River Niger and utilized for business operations and residential purposes.

Despite claims of legality and compliance with relevant regulations, Governor Chukwuma Soludo, during a recent inspection issued a directive to the Chairman of Onitsha South Local Government, Chief Orji, instructing him to demolish all “illegal structures.” Soludo emphasized that the land rightfully belongs to Anambra State, refuting NIWA’s jurisdiction over it.

Victims like Mrs. Stella Udeh, said she lost property worth more than N2million to the he destruction.

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