The authorities of Onitsha South Local Government Area of Anambra State have demolished illegal structures and shanties along the bank of the River Niger, by Niger Street, Fegge, Onitsha.

The exercise, which started on Sunday and continued on Monday, saw the demolition of machine houses, stores and sand beaches of sand miners and traders doing business along the area.

The demolition affected several equipment houses, shops and business premises, and it is coming barely a month after over 2,300 shops in the same area were demolished by the council area.

Our correspondent gathered that the exercise had displaced no fewer than 4,000 sand miners and traders doing business and trading in the area.

The demolition was supervised by the Chairman of Onitsha South Local Government Area, Emeka Orji, in the company, along with over 15 operatives of the Anambra State Vigilante Service.

Speaking during the exercise, Orji re-emphasised the state government’s determination towards reclaiming the land from the present occupiers.

Orji said, “The state government is determined to reclaim the land from its present occupiers and clear the area of illegal structures defacing the environment. The affected victims have been warned to vacate the place, but they did not take the warning seriously.”

As the demolition was ongoing, some of the affected sand miners were seen hurriedly removing their equipment, including sand drilling machines, while the traders among them, were seen removing their commodities, including alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, food and snacks, from the scene.

This is just as they lamented that the exercise had rendered them jobless and homeless.

4000 displaced as anambra demolishes illegal structures - nigeria newspapers online

During the exercise, one of the properties, a fuel station marked for, almost caused a crisis, as the demolition-affected owners started agitating and kicking against the demolition.

The intervention of the vigilante operatives, who started shooting sporadically, scared the people agitating from coming near the demolition point.

One of the victims, Lucky Okoye, said that over 20 houses housing River Craft Machines numbering about 40 were affected, and each River Craft Machine is employing between 18 to 25 workers who are now displaced.

A trader, Mrs Agnes Ezeh, who lost some of her commodities in her destroyed shop, said that over 60 shops belonging to petty traders were also destroyed in Monday’s demolition. Sand beaches were not left out as they were levelled in the demolition exercise, making the number of displaced people about 760, apart from 250 people displaced in Sunday demolition.

The affected victims were Uche Okafor Sand Beach, Beneath Ozoemena Sand Beach, Chidi Iheme, Alhaji Danladi and Sumo, Alhaji Salusi Nnaemeka Sand Beach, Obidi Ibeanu and Daniel Eze Beaches.

Other companies affected by Monday’s demolition are Amaonye and Omekigbo Braches, with not less than 80 workers, while over 30 shop owners in the area were displaced by the demolition.

At the scene of the demolition, many affected victims were seen hurriedly removing their multi-million naira sand drilling machines, also known as River Craft Machines, while the traders among them were seen removing their commodities, including alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, food and snacks, while sand workers were seen lamenting that they would be jobless.