Ebonyi Govt Offers Rent-Free Shops To Traders At International Market.
Traders at the Abakpa Main Market have been offered free movement into shops in lots two and three of the International Market for the next one year by Ebonyi State government.
Governor of the state, David Umahi also directed that all those whose shops were sealed at the Abakpa Market following the recent imbroglio should meet with him to trash out the contentious matters.
This is part of the outcome of an interactive meeting between Governor Umahi, the traders, selected elders and other stakeholders on Monday at the Banquet Hall, Governor's Lodge, Abakaliki.
Recall that the state government and the traders were recently divided over issues relating to relocation to the International Market which necessitated in the court action against the government by the traders.
Addressing traders at the meeting, Governor Umahi insisted that movement to the International Market must be concluded by the middle of October to enable the government to remodel the present Abakpa Market into food, vegetables and fruits market.
He asked the traders to move into any shop of their choices in the lots 2 and 3 of the International Market and continue with their businesses free of charge for the next one year, after which they would begin payment to the government.
For the Lot 1 section of the International Market which was remodelled by the present administration, the governor, however, offered traders the chance to buy and occupy the shops at 50 per cent advance payment, to be completed later.
He also offered those who may wish to rent the shops at the Lot 1 the chance to occupy and pay in arrears after six months while those wishing to build stalls could purchase a little open space available at the section.
While making submissions on behalf of the traders, the Chairman, Urban Community Forum, Bishop Anayo Iloh and the former Secretary of the Abakpa Market Trader's Association, Lawrence Eze, among others, brought to the governor's attention the various misgivings of the traders.
Iloh noted that the traders were angered by the fact that they were given vacation notice just after few weeks they were made to renew their lease, adding that some members of the new leadership were not given accurate information to the people.
Eze on his part added that government's recent sealing of some traders shops in the market orchestrated the problem. He also complained that the cost placed on the remodelled shops at the International Market was so exorbitant, such that most traders could not afford, adding that the number of available shops cannot also contain the traders.
He appealed to government to review the cost of the shops.
The Chairman, Ebonyi State Elders Forum, Frank Ogbuewu admonished the traders to toe the path of peace by withdrawing the court case against government while the CAN Chairman in the state and senior special adviser to the governor on religious and welfare matters, Rev. Father Abraham Nwali cautioned government officials to always respect processes as well as employ human face in their drives for revenue.
The meeting which was summoned by Governor Umahi in response to recent crises rocking the Market, also had in attendance the former Governor of the state, Chief Martin Elechi, representatives of the Christian Association of Nigeria and Market Women Association.