It vowed to clamp down completely on defaulters to ensure that sanity was restored across the State.
Commissioner for commerce and industry in the State, Hon. Samuel Ogbu Nwobodo gave the stern warning as he led a government team round some areas in the State.
The team made up of the commissioner, three council chairmen within the Enugu metropolis, the President of Enugu Traders’ Association, among others, carried an on the spot assessment of the level of incursion into the roads by traders.
Apart from street trading, the committee, which was set up by Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, equally took interest in all the railway crossings across major roads in the State.
Places visited included the Mayor Market, the Garki Market, the Timber Railway crossing, all in Enugu South; Agbani Railway crossing in Nkanu West, Emene Railway crossing, Abakpa Market in Enugu East as well as Ogui Junction in Enugu North.
Our correspondent reports that Abakpa was the worst hit as almost all the streets within the Market area have been turned to open shops, blocking them completely against traffic.
Further observation at the Railway crossings showed that the barriers have either malfunctioned or never existed at all.
Addressing journalists at the end of the exercise, an enraged Nwobodo said the government would come out in full force to ensure that the roads were cleared.
He stated that apart from obstructing vehicular movement, the situation equally posed great danger to lives and property of the people.
“What we saw today is quite a bad sight and it cannot stand. One can’t imagine a situation where roads have been completely turned to shops.
“These are all tarred roads but you can see that traders have completely taken over; it is even hard to know that there are roads here. I don’t know how it got to this point.
“So, we have come to tell the traders to have a re-think. The local government has promised to help them get shops but even if they don’t have shops, it doesn’t give them the right to convert roads to market.
“This situation is not good for the road users; it is also not good for road users because a vehicle may develop brake failure and there will be mass casualty. If such thing happens now, it will seem like government is not doing what it is supposed to do.”
He added that “we are here to sensitize the people because government is interested in their welfare. We advise them to quietly vacate government roads; they should go into the market.
“However, if they fail to adhere to this warning, there will be enforcement; it is obvious we have to do the right thing as a government.”
In their separate remarks, the chairman of ALGON in the State, and caretaker chairman of Enugu East, Hon. Cornelius Nnaji, who spoke on behalf of his counterparts, the Caretaker Committee Chairmen of Enugu North and Enugu South, Isaac Igwe and Sunday Ugwu, respectively, assured that they would collaborate with the State government to ensure that the ban on street trading was totally enforced.
Meanwhile, all the market leaders in the areas visited revealed that all the previous efforts they made to remove the traders from the roads were unsuccessful.