By Kebba Jeffang
Street vendors in the Albert market in Banjul had their stalls removed by the officers of the Gambia Police Force on Thursday, July 14, 2016, according to affected business owners.
This reporter upon a tip-off rushed to the city market in order to witness the operation which could not materialise. He however managed to find out from some affected vendors as to how they were evicted from the place.
Abdourahman Barry, a cola-nut seller, said he has been occupying the place for several years without been told to leave the area. He explained that yesterday morning some police officers approached him asking him to leave. He could not tell the reason why he was asked to leave the selling point.
“I have been here for years selling cola-nuts as my means of livelihood. Evicting me from here without giving me any other alternative means is like denying me my livelihood,” the old man said.
Edi Mboge who owns a shop in the market also has his shoes that are arrangned waiting for customers on the concrete footpath removed. He said he was forcefully asked to remove his materials from the place. He said he used to take out some shoes from the shop and place them on that footpath in order to attract buyers.
Meanwhile, this reporter was also reliably informed that some of these stalls were removed since late night of Wednesday. Some business owners found near the area said they only realised this in the morning (yesterday); that their stalls were removed without prior notice.
However, the Police spokesperson ASP Lamin Njie was contacted and he referred this reporter to the Banjul City Council (BCC) since it is a matter relating to market. He told this reporter to find out at the BCC and should in case BCC have no comment on the issue, he can be contacted again.
Mr. Abdoulie Bah, Mayor of Banjul when visited said he is not aware of the issue. He said he wouldn’t know because the Municipal police are banned from such operation as everything is been handed over to the general duty police of the Gambia Police Force.
When police spokesperson was contacted again, he was unreachable on his cell phone.