Abakpa Market Traders Get Reprieve… to Occupy Plots 2, 3 of International Market Free For 1 Year
By Oginyi Ruth
Governor David Umahi has on Monday told the traders in Abakpa Market to occupy plot 2 and 3 of the International Market for free for 1 year after which they would start paying rents or buy the particular shop if they wish.
The Governor equally extended the relocation of traders from Abakpa Main Market to International Market by 6 weeks.
The Governor made the disclosure on Monday during an expanded meeting with the traders and directed them to occupy plot 2 and 3 of the International Market for free for one year after which they will start paying rents or buy the particular shop if they wish.
He noted that for those that may want to occupy plot 1 which is already renovated, they can move in and after 6 months they will start paying rents, but they will still pay in arrears for the 6 months they stayed.
He maintained that extending the stay of the traders at the Abakpa Main Market beyond the 6 weeks will not be granted by the government.
He assured that in the next ten days, light and water supply will be made available in the new market.
The Governor also directed that those shops sealed during the crisis should remain sealed even when he acknowledged he was not aware of the action but 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 why the shops were sealed and how it will be reopened, maintaining that the main market will be the 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 by government representatives which made the traders take some drastic decisions including dragging the state government to court.
Ilo affirmed that 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 Eze-Amalu 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.
Eze-Amalu said since Wednesday last week, he has been suffering from his family, wearing only one cloth since then.
He pleaded with the governor to direct them to unseal both his shop and his house including that of his colleagues who have found themselves in the same predicament.
In his remarks, the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Welfare and Religious Matters, Rev. Fr. Abraham Nwali, who spoke on behalf of CAN appealed with the government to always carry its drive with dignity and a human face.
He charged the government to always follow the rule of law when someone defaults while soliciting for the cooperation of the traders and Ebonyi citizens.
Recall that the state government in July, 2019,through Ebonyi Local Government Area, issued one month quit notice to the traders and on Wednesday last week, trouble ensued between the traders and government tax agents who went to enforce tax payment on the traders and seal shops of some traders who went to court to seek a redress over the quit notice.
Since Wednesday, the market has remained closed by the traders who agreed not to open until shops of their colleagues who were sealed for signing a court suit against the state government is opened.
Former Governor of the State, Chief Martin Elechi, and Senator Chris Nwankwo among other founding fathers were present in the meeting.