Nasarawa State Governor Umar Tanko Al-Makura has ordered the demolition of all illegal structures as well as the eviction of roadside traders along the Abuja-Keffi dual carriage way starting from Mararaba.
It was a tensed atmosphere, yesterday, when the caterpillars brought by the special task force set up by the governor on urban development control moved in as early as 6:30 am to start pulling down illegal structures by the roadside.
Some traders and shop owners were seen trying to rescue their wares and belongings from the debris.
Speaking with newsmen at the scene of the demolition, the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Media and Press Affairs, Sani Musa Mairiga, said that the commencement of the demolition exercise followed the expiration of the two-week ultimatum and additional one-week grace given to the affected traders and individuals who built structures along the highway without giving way for the mandatory 30 to 45 metres from the middle of the road, to evacuate.
Musa Mairiga said that the exercise would go a long way towards checking traffic gridlock along the ever-busy Abuja-Keffi express way, as well as sanitising the environment.
He said that it was not Mararaba alone that would be affected by the demolition, but all the towns and villages within the Greater Karu Area.
The governor refuted the claim by some of the affected traders and shop owners that they were taken unaware by the demolition exercise.
"I want to categorically state here that the traders were adequately informed before the commencement of this exercise. The state government served them a two-week quit notice and subsequently gave them a grace period of one week to evacuate the area. We are doing this to sanitise The Greater Karu Area and reduce shanties and allow free movement of vehicles," Mairiga said.
Some of the affected traders, who spoke to LEADERSHIP, appealed to the Nasarawa State government to provide them with alternative market, where they could continue their trade.