Residents and shop owners of Yenagoa woke up this morning to the news of the popular Swali market being destroyed by what locals perceive as government forces.
Our correspondent reports that “rushing to the market, destruction of hundreds of shops can be visibly seen and the destruction is still ongoing” he said.
Local business men who tried to record the happenings were severely warned and restricted from recording even as some phones were purportedly ceased, owners repeatedly abused, records erased before phones were voluntarily returned.
Despite the threats not to record, several videos and photos have emerged online owing to the magnitude of destruction.
Locals reports that the government decided to embark on the destruction of shops after all attempt to move all roadside shop owners to the fish market proved abortive – a space sellers complained to be too small and could not contain a quarter of those asked to move inside.
Many shop owners who had earlier visited the fish market immediately government issued the warning to inquire of a space faced a filled market with no space left to accommodate more sellers.
Some local sellers indicated that it is not clear yet whether or not the state government ordered the demolition.
Reports later gathered indicated that the Bayelsa state Covid-19 Taskforce spearheaded the demolition of the trader’s shops along the swali market road in Yenagoa and other illegal structures around the market to enforce social distancing at the market area Lishman of Rythm Fm reports.
Speaking to journalists during the demolition exercise, the Chairman State Covid-19 implementation committee, Doctor Inodu Apoko, says Government had engaged the traders on the need for them to occupy the six hundred lockup shops inside the market to create more space at the market during this period but the traders refused.
Until now, the main market has been closed to those selling non-essentials as the directive of the earlier lockdown only exclude food, medical supplies and essential commodity vendors.
See video below: