The Government of Abia State under the leadership of Governor Okezie Ikpeazu has announced the intention of his administration to Commence a phased redevelopment of Ariaria International Market from Sunday, September 5, 2021.
Recall that the administration has made several efforts to reconstruct the 47-year old market in order to tackle its age-long structural issues with many of the shops as well as 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 to our traders.
The approval was announced following a final consultative meeting with stakeholders of Ariaria International Market on Tuesday.
According to the governor, the phased redevelopment of the market include relocation of traders currently doing business along A-Line, C-Line and medical line.
This, the governor explained will enable the commencement of work on Sunday, September 5, 2021.
A statement on Saturday by the state Commissioner for Information, Chief John Okiyi Kalu, said that traders affected by the change should relocate to Ekumi Shopping plaza or other available shops within the market.
The statement added: “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.
“Governor Okezie Ikpeazu is expected to personally hand back new allocation papers to all the existing allottees on Friday, 5th December, 2021.
“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.”
He said that 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.
Recall that the administration earlier made several efforts to reconstruct the 47-year old market in order to tackle its age-long structural issues with many of the shops as well as provide the necessary modern infrastructure to deal with the perennial flooding challenges, especially with A-Line while delivering other amenities like befitting car parks, conveniences, beautification of the surroundings, improved fire fighting capacity and such other facilities to our traders.
Similarly, a cabal in the market that had been profiting from the market 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.
Continuing, the statement said: “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.
“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 statement assured the traders that it will 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).
It also said that any attempt by any individual or group to disrupt the planned work will not be tolerated, adding that wide consultation was done as well as enough grace period, long before the decision was taken.
The statement also solicited the understanding and support of all Abians, promising to deliver a modern market to its people.