From Okey Sampson, Umuahia
Traders at Ngwa Road Market (Ahia-Ohuru) in Aba, Abia State, on Tuesday staged a peaceful protest against the proposed demolition of their shops at the market by the Abia State Ministry of Trade and Investment.
The traders who were in their thousands, equally lamented against the establishment of telecommunication mast inside the market, describing the development as unhealthy and dangerous for the traders.
Chairman of the stakeholders of the market, Titus Chimezie said there was no time the traders agreed on the proposed demolition.
“Last week they (Government) called us for a meeting and they brought the idea of demolition and rebuilding the shops. But we told them the shops that if there ones that are bad, we will renovate them. We agreed and they left.
“It was to our greatest shock and surprise that on Thursday last week, we started hearing on radio that all the traders in Ngwa Road agreed that our shops should be demolished. When we heard it, we said no, that’s not what we agreed.
“Our complaints are very understandable. These shops were built by some of our parents and old traders here. Aba South LGA is still owing them several millions of Naira which they used in erecting these shops.”
Chimezie stated that inasmuch as the shops are owned by the traders, yet the Trade and Investment Ministry still collects N300,000 yearly from them as revalidation fees, adding that last year, the Ministry collected N400,000 from the traders.
On the issue of building telecommunication mast in the market, Chimezie said that when he learnt of it, he called the market Chairman, Chijindu Ojogho but he did not do anything.
Chukwuemeka Ibezim, another stakeholder at the market said that it was shocking for them to return to the market this January to discover that a mast was now located right within their shops with many doing business under it.
The traders to Governor Okezie Ikpeazu to intervene to save them from the hands of officials of the Ministry of Trade and Investment.
However, the Chairman of the Ngwa road market, Ojogho said that it was the traders who wrote the Ministry of Trade and Investment to come and demolish some zones they felt the buildings were not strong enoug.
He denied having any hand in y building of mast inside the market.