January 18, 2016 By Ibrahim Tarawallie
Mayor of Freetown City Council (FCC) has vowed to crackdown on ‘lawless’ traders that still sell their goods along major streets in the capital, instead of occupying market structures.
Mayor Franklyn Bode Gibson was speaking last Friday during a conducted tour of over 100 shops currently being constructed by the FCC in collaboration with Member of Parliament representing Constituency 104, Hon. Alpha Babatunde Lewally, at the Dan Street Lorry Park, east of the city.
However, despite similar pronouncement by the city mayor in the past, traders still occupy the streets, thus contributing to traffic congestion.
“We are trying to decongest the streets by building markets and shops for traders. Traders are everywhere and want to sell everywhere. We have been fighting with them. We are going to remove them from the streets,” he vowed and added that markets have been built but traders continue to sell on the main thoroughfares.
He cited Kissy Road as an example where, according to him, the FCC had stopped traders from selling their goods, although he noted that the ‘lawless ones’ have returned to carry out their business activities, leaving market places completely empty.
With regards the construction of shops at the Dan Street Lorry Park, Mayor Gibson explained that they had hoped to construct 100 shops this January but admitted that was no longer feasible.
He attributed the delay to obstacles they were having with some people who claimed ownership right over the land, which he insisted was property of council.
He pleaded with the traders to be patient as to undertake a huge construction project of 100 shops was not easy, and assured that the shops would be ready by end of March.
He urged Hon. Lewally to do all he could to ensure that the new deadline is met without any hindrance.
“We are targeting March 31 to open about 100 shops whilst working in other areas,” he the mayor disclosed. “The work must continue because we have to meet our target. Half of the population in the city has embarked on trading.”