By Onyinye Ekwealor
The chairman, Awka South local government area, Anambra state, Hon Leo Nwuba, on Monday, led a handful of his personnel on environmental sanitisation exercise. This took him to the decongested Unizik/Temporary Site pedestrian bridge which traders had turned to a market, selling goods of different types, making it uncomfortable for pedestrians to pass.
According to the chairman, the action followed series of complaints to his office that pedestrians were no longer safe using the bridge as a result of robbery and sundry crimes, especially at nightfall.
Nwuba said: “I have been informed most often than not that people are no longer safe using the route created for them. Pedestrians cannot walk in peace without been robbed of their properties because trading activities are carried out there. When people try to buy things, they lose what they have on them. This has to stop.”
The chairman lamented that in spite of the series of notices issued to the traders to desist from trading at the pedestrian bridge, the notices fell on deaf ears.
“We have announced severally that people should move their wares to different markets in Awka and environs and to stop all forms of inconveniences to the pedestrians, but all these warnings fell on deaf ears. We are doing this to serve as a deterrent.”
Nwuba disclosed that constant routine checks would be carried out at the Unizik/Temporary Site junction to enforce proper decongestion.
Mixed feelings arose over the exercise with some passers-by murmuring that the economy was so bad that people who are trying to fend for themselves should be allowed to do so and others saying that the decongestion exercise was very necessary to ensure the safety of users of the bridge.
The chairman, in response to the view that it was the traders’ means of livelihood, said that the government never deprived anyone of their will to trade but that things must be done properly. He said people should go for shops in the various markets in Awka and its environs, not make the pedestrian bridge unsafe for its users.
While some of the traders took away with their wares on time to avoid their being impounded, the unlucky ones were taken to the local government office in Amawbia where they were penalized with fines.
When accosted as to why they deliberately broke the law, seeing that the pedestrian bridge was never meant for selling of wares, most of the offenders claimed they were new in town and not informed on the law guiding the premises. However, they promised never to default again.