Ariaria International Market: Gov Ikpeazu’s Latest Plans

Ariaria International Market What Ikpeazu’s Rehabilitation Wand Plans To do

By Chioma Godwin

Poised to fulfill his campaign promises, Abia State Governor, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, has approved the commencement of phased redevelopment of Ariaria International Market, Aba, from Sunday, 5th September, 2021.

This follows several complaints by users of the market and indigenes of the State, who have used social media to lament the decrepit situation of one of the largest markets in Africa.

Announcing the State Government’s decision, the Commissioner for Information, John Kalu, in a statement recalled that Ikpeazu had made several efforts to reconstruct the 47-year old market in order to tackle its age-long structural issues with many of the shops.

He also said the reconstruction meant to provide the necessary modern infrastructure to deal with the perennial flooding challenges, particularly with A-Line, while delivering other amenities like befitting car parks, conveniences, beautification of the surroundings, improved fire fighting capacity and such other facilities for the traders.

However, “a cabal in the market that had been profiting from its current state had sought to place unnecessary legal and other obstacles on the path of government’s efforts and had hampered previous attempts at commencing works in the market in April 2021.

“But in the interest of overwhelming public good, we are compelled to go ahead with redevelopment efforts in one of the foremost markets in the country”, said Kalu.

He equally acknowledged that “in recent days, different social media platforms have been inundated with uncomplimentary videos of flooded A-Line that obviously also endangers traders and shoppers alike while bringing the government into public odium.

“No responsible government will, in the face of such images making the rounds on social media, sit back and watch without taking appropriate actions to deliver the much needed solution as quickly as possible.”

The Commissioner therefore, declared that “consequently, after a final consultative meeting with stakeholders of Ariaria International Market on Tuesday, 24th August, 2021, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu has approved the phased redevelopment of the market as follows:

1. Traders currently doing business along A-Line, C-Line and Medical Line are to relocate from their shops on or before close of business on Saturday, 4th September, 2021 to enable the commencement of work the following day, Sunday, 5th September, 2021.

2. Those affected are to temporarily relocate to Ekumi Shopping plaza or other available shops within the market.

3. The developers have committed to completing the required work in the phase which includes establishment of proper drainage channels within the affected lines, construction of new shops and parks, before the first week of December 2021.

4. Abia state government will through subsequent press releases publish the names of existing shop allottees who are guaranteed of their return to the reconstructed shops after completion of the first phase. It is important to state that no existing shop allottee will lose his/her shop after the work.

5. Governor Okezie Ikpeazu is expected to personally hand back new allocation papers to all the existing allottees on Friday, 5th December, 2021.

6. Trading activities are expected to continue in other lines that are not affected by the first phase of the redevelopment project while the appointed developers, Messrs Blessed Henkel International Company, are expected to work with the market committee and security agents to ensure full security within the market during the period of redevelopment.”

Kalu assured traders that government would work to ensure minimal disruptions to trading activities while executing the project which has now been made more urgent and crucial because of the recent flooding forecast from the Nigeria Meteorological Agency (NiMet).

“We will also not in any way tolerate any attempt by any individual or group to disrupt the planned work as we have consulted widely enough and given enough grace period, long before now, for alternative solutions which never yielded any meaningful result”, he added.

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