No fewer than 500 local traders and shanty owners within the runway of Asaba International Airport were in the early hours of Thursday sacked by task force officials of the Delta State Ministry of Environment.
In what appeared to be a Melo-drama, the task force officials accompanied by armed policemen, descended on the traders with horse whip, while equally destroying hundreds of makeshifts erected within the airport under the supervision of the Commissioner for Environment, Barr. John Nani.
Speaking to DAILY POST, the commissioner said; “The state government had earlier served the traders quit notice, but instead of relocating, they started erecting makeshifts along the Airport runway; such is illegal activity; we are acting on the mandate of the state Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa to demolish all illegal structures within Asaba Airport runway, and around. We have no apology for our action.”
Expressing worries over what he described as inimical hazards the traders’ illegal activities pose to the environment and the sensitive nature of the Airport, the Commissioner said that the traders in deviance littered the Airport with sachets of pure water, including used tissue papers, disclosing the traders’ negligence to comply accordingly with the quit notice they were earlier served, informed the action of the task force officials.
He said; “Despite earlier warning and an extended period of grace, the traders in an affront on the law, commenced their business activities,” adding that such acts of insubordination gave rise to the raid.
Barr. Nani explained that the illegitimate occupants have converted facility of the Airport into their private estate, and market place, therefore accommodating dissidents and persons with questionable character, including commercial sex workers.
But some of the traders whose property were destroyed by the task force officials told DAILY POST that they refused to relocate because they had no other means of livelihood, and that government was not ready to provide employment for their children, or their husbands.
The leader of the traders, Mrs. Edith Ndukwe said; ‘We have nothing else to be doing, this is where we make a living for our family, our children; no employment; where do we go from here? Task force officials have destroyed our property worth millions of Naira”.