Traders at Ariaria International Market and Ngwa Road Markets Aba whose shops were affected by the demolition exercise that preceded the ongoing remodelling and reconstruction efforts at the two biggest Markets in Abia state, have been assured that they will get their shops back at the end of the exercise.
The Chairman of Ariaria International Market, Elder Emeka Igara, gave the assurance in an exclusive interview with NewsCritic online, last week. He spoke against the backdrop of high apprehensions among the affected shops owners that with the Gov Okezie Ikpeazu’s administration winding down in a few months’ time, most of them stand the risk of losing their shops, when the reconstruction works are completed.
It would be recalled that in September last year, following the expiration of a deadline given to the traders to relocate, the Abia State government had bulldozed shops along lines A, B and Medicine Lines at the Ariaria market to allow for the current reconstruction exercise.
Before then, a similar fate had befallen shops along lines 1, 2 and 3 at the Ngwa Road Market. In a statement issued and signed by Chief John Okiyi Kalu, then Commissioner for Information and now the Commissioner for Trade and Industry, the Abia State government had cited the flood prone nature of the Markets, dilapidated infrastructural facilities and the need to remodel the Markets in line with global best standards as reasons, promising to conclude the works before early this year 2022.
According to Elder Igara, all shops owners affected by the exercise will surely have their shops back, noting that the market authorities are in constant touch with all the relevant authorities with a view to ensuring that no one is dispossessed of his shops and other investments at the end of the day.
“For the record, we have interacted, and continue to interact with the government of the day and all other relevant authorities concerned. We have been strongly assured that all affected shops owners will definitely have their shops back. We understand that it is normal for the affected shops owners to be worried, especially now that our amiable Governor is preparing to hand over power to another person”.
“However, we want to assure our fellow traders that the government of the day is equally mindful of their concerns, and is working assiduously to ensure that a trader friendly successor emerges come 2023.
“All the traders need to do now is to cooperate with and support the government in this direction, so that it will succeed in the overall interest of everybody. This is one the reasons why we the traders have resolved to back the aspirations of Prof. Uche Ikonne to succeed Gov Ikpeazu.
“There is no need to toy with the investments of member, we strongly believe that Prof. Ikonne will continue with the legacies of Gov Ikpeazu, having been working closely with him.
Once again, we want to reassure our people, the affected shops owners that they will all have their shops back. Besides, with the rate of work so far done, we are even.