… Traders to occupy lot 2, 3 of international market free for 1yr
Angela Nwaeze Mbaocha
Governor David Nweze Umahi of Ebonyi state, has extended the relocation of traders from Abakpa main market to international market to six weeks.
The governor made the concession on Monday during an expanded meeting with the traders, Ebonyi founding fathers, Elders Council and Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).
Umahi told the traders to occupy lot 2 and 3 of the international market for free for one year after which they can start paying rents or buy the particular shop if they wish.
He noted that for those that may want to occupy lot 1 which is already renovated, they can move in and after six months they will start paying rents, but they will still pay in arrears for the six months they stayed.
He maintained that extending the stay of the traders at the Abakpa main market beyond the six weeks will not be granted by the government.
The governor also direct that those shops sealed during the crisis should remain sealed even when he acknowledged he was not aware of the action but that he was not also against it on getting the information.
He said those affected should meet with the leadership of CAN so that they will discuss on why the shops were sealed and how it will be reopened, while he maintained that the main market will be food market.
Earlier, one of the traders, Bishop Ilo Chukwuma, pleaded with the governor to give them one month to relocate, stating that there was communication gap between the market representatives and government.
He claimed that the traders were not properly communicated to by government representatives which made the traders to take some drastic decisions including dragging the state government to court.
Ilo affairmed the traders were ready to move to the international market but that the one month given to them was very short.
On his part, Lawrence Ezeamalu said he was among those whose shops were sealed since Wednesday, adding that the most painful part was that his residential building was also sealed.
Ezeamalu said since Wednesday he has been suffering with his family, wearing only one cloth since then. He pleaded with the governor to direct his lautients to unseal both his shop and his house including that of his colleagues who have found themselves in the same predicament.
In his remarks, chairman Elders Council, Amb. Frank Ogbuweu, pleaded with the traders not to resort to violence or going to court anytime they have any misunderstanding with the government.
He maintained that dialogue is they key to any disagreement and that the council can be consulted on matters affecting them.
While chairman founding fathers, Francis Orji urged the traders to work together with the government in bringing about progress in the state.
Senior Special Assistant to the governor on Welfare and Religious Matters, Rev. Fr. Abraham Nwali, who spoke on behalf of CAN appealed with government to always carry its drive with dignity and human face.
He charged government to always follow the rule of law when someone defaults, while soliciting for the corporation of the traders and Ebonyi citizens.