The Abia State Ministry of Trade and Investment, says its attention has been drawn to the orchestrated protest by some politically sponsored individuals masquerading as traders at Ariaria International Market Aba.
It said the development has led to the alleged destruction of some construction equipment deployed to ensure the proper remodeling of A-line with a view to checking the perennial flooding of the market and delivering modern market Infrastructure.
In a release on Wednesday by the State Commissioner of Trade and Investment, Chief John Okiyi Kalu, against the backdrops of the protest, noted that government has deployed security agents to the market to protect lives and property of traders and workers of the designated developers as well as to ensure the immediate arrest, prosecution of the perpetrators and their sponsors no matter how highly placed they are, and vowed that it will not watch idly while few individuals take the law into their hands.
“While it is a fact that government has no tool at the moment to prevent torrential rains from falling in any part of the state, including Ariaria International Market area, we have consistently taken measures to ensure that traders do not suffer unduly as a result of the forecast floods ravaging both country and the entire world”, the Ministry stated.
The Abia Ministry disclosed that Governor Okezie Ikpeazu had 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 accommodations without any fees pending the completion of the ongoing work.
“The executive of Ariaria Market committee and security agents are to supervise this immediate relocation exercise to avoid further damage to goods with possible risk of collapse of some structures within the affected zones.”
The Ministry further disclosed that the state government arrived at the decision 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 for further preparations for more floods.
“While we acknowledge that the developer has commenced execution of the newly proposed culvert, we urge that they ensure completion within the 2-weeks given for the work to be done as well as explore the opening of other channels that can help evacuate storm water out of the market after every rainfall.
It also revealed that the state government has commenced the implementation of the 2-year tax waivers recently granted to the traders affected by the ongoing reconstruction work along A-line and the approval by Governor Ikpeazu had been fully conveyed to Abia State Internal Service (AIRS), adding that the state ministry of trade and Investment is currently working with Ariaria Market executives to complete the verification and issuance of relevant documents to affected traders from next week.