Chief Okiyi Kalu, Abia State Commissioner for Trade and Investment, has said the state government would relocate traders in part of Ariaria International Market Aba to safer areas of the market as part of measures to checkmate the menace of flooding in the market.
Kalu in a press release said that Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu had already approved the measure.
The statement read in part:” After due review of the current flooding situation across the country, affected areas in Ariaria and the subsisting forecast by Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) and Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) advising further preparations for more floods, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu has approved the immediate relocation of traders in A-D zones of A-line to available shops in the A block zone, So-Safe zone and Ochendo zone in Ariaria International Market for temporary accommodation without any fees pending the completion of the ongoing work.
“The executives of the Ariaria market committee and security agents are to supervise this immediate relocation exercise to avoid further damage to goods with a possible risk of collapse of some structures within the affected zones.”
According to the release, the government has also directed the contractor handling the execution of a new culvert and channels to evacuate flood waters for two weeks to ensure project completion.
The government has also commenced implementation of the 2-year tax waivers recently granted to the traders affected by the ongoing reconstruction work along A-line and the approval of the Governor has been fully conveyed to Abia State Internal Service (AIRS), while the ministry of trade is working with Ariaria market executives to complete the verification and issuance of relevant documents to affected traders from next week”, it added.
Meanwhile, the government has dismissed the Wednesday protest by some people at the market as politically motivated, warning to take action against the perpetrators and their sponsors.
“Security agents have been deployed to the market to protect the life and property of traders and workers of the designated developers, as well as ensure the immediate arrest and prosecution of the perpetrators and their sponsors, no matter how highly placed they are, as we will not watch idly while a few individuals take the law into their hands.”
This is as the government also warned those behind the collection of N50,000 from traders with the intention of embarking on legal action against the ongoing re-modelling of the market.
“We are determined to deliver on the remodelling of A-line as we know that not doing so will be a great disservice to most of our people”.
The release added that those political actors attempting to disrupt the project will surely have their intentions end up in futility”.