Some street traders in the Diobu axis of Port Harcourt on Wednesday appealed to the Rivers State government to provide them affordable market stalls before enforcing its ban on street trading.

The traders spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in reaction to the government’s recent seven-day ultimatum banning trading activities along Bishop Okoye Street in Diobu, Port Harcourt.

According to them, it will be unfair for the government to drive them out of business without providing an alternative place for them.

One of the traders, Mrs. Kechi Wechie, who sells vegetables, appealed to the government not to be hasty about banning trading along Bishop Okoye Street.

“We are aware that we trade along the road; but we have nowhere to go from here, we implore the government to help us."

“What we do here is petty trading, we will be happy to access affordable stalls with the assistance of the government," Wechie said.

Another trader, Miss Anita Welekwe, a plantain seller, told NAN that banning trading along the street without another provision would “put food off the tables of many families".

“Many of us trading here are the breadwinners in different ways. I tell you that many families will go hungry if we are stopped from doing our businesses,’’ Welekwe said.

On his part, Archibong Matthew, a grinding machine operator, expressed concern at the notice that government had given the traders to quit trading along that street.

“It is from the proceeds of my activities here that I assist my younger ones in school; I pray this notice will not be enforced."

“I will be the greatest victim, I wonder the excuse to give to those that depend on me, I beg the state government to please change its mind,’’ he said.

Some residents of Mile Three, Diobu, in the Port Harcourt City Local Government Area of Rivers State had in the past appealed to the state government to stop traders from selling along Bishop Okoye Street.

They alleged that the traders there were fond of displaying fish, vegetables and other edibles in the open along the filthy street.

They alleged that they had since stopped buying things displayed on the street for fear of being infected by disease from such items.