'Disgrace To Bayelsa': Businesses On Tombia Bridge Won't Go Away
Tombia Bridge is about 10 minutes drive to Bayelsa capital city, Yenagoa, and it is a major bridge.
Its strategic position has brought business boom to the location, but major trading only takes place on the bridge that is just before Edepie.
A few metres away from the bridge is Tombia market along Amassoma Road, meant to house the traders, but the bridge and roads around it are their preferred location.
They have turned the main market to a market for butchers and tomato sellers only while they prefer trekking and hawking all day on the bridge.
The obstruction makes it a tough task for commuters who use the road in the day.
A Disgrace To Bayelsa State
Some persons who sell on the bridge believe their customers will locate them quickly just by the road where they still pay dues to use.
Over the weekend, the Chairman of the Environmental Sanitation Authority, Mr Enogha Ayalla, and his counterpart, Director of Drilling Unit, Mr Pereowei Eguruze, announced over the radio that their men would raid Tombia Bridge area by the early hours of September 15, 2018.
Mr Ayalla said: "Obstruction of Tombia Bridge which is the only road leading to Niger Delta University (NDU) is a disgrace to Bayelsa State".
Traders undermine the presence of police officials who are usually there to control traffic and make their sales not minding how commuters feel about the man-hour they lose.
Residents, who heard the radio announcement, warned their loved ones and the news went round.
'Not To Be Idle'
The bridge was sane that Saturday morning, but some traders came prepared to fight with the sanitation team whom they accused of collecting 300 Naira weekly levy from them, for selling goods on the bridge.
An iced-fish seller, Mrs Beauty Alagoa, told Bounce News that they were ready to fight the officials of the sanitation agency.
"We done ready to fight them today [speaking pidgin English].
"I have paid my weekly levy so nobody will chase me out of here nor arrest me.
"That one no fit happen," she concluded in pidgin English, beating her chest.
A young man who sells palm oil and who does not want his name mentioned, also explained that instead of telling them to quit selling their goods on the bridge, the Sanitation workers who parade along Amassoma Road, usually collect 300 Naira from them.
"I am a Niger Delta University graduate.
"I studied Political science, graduated and finished my NYSC programme in 2016.
"I decided not to be idle, so I raised some money through my mother and now sell red oil," he said, putting forward his reason for being on the bridge.
He further explained that if chased out of the bridge, he would suffer untold hardship.
"I do not have between 80—100 thousand Naira to rent a shop," he stressed.
Apparently aware of the showdown that the traders were ready for, the officials of the ministry did not show up.
They were, however, seen clearing bushes in Igbogene area along Mbiama-Yenagoa Road and Sani Abacha Expressway in Yenagoa.
Tombia bridge traders appear to have received just another extension of their stay on the bridge.
These small businesses holders are definitely waiting for the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP), called the Trader Moni, an initiative of the Federal Government that gives 10,000 Naira initial loan to petty traders in different Nigerian state.
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