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Abia Govt. serves quit notice to Ariaria Market traders

By Boniface Okoro, Umuahia on 23/05/2016

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The prospects of thousands of traders losing their stalls in Ariaria International Market, Aba looms large in the commercial city as the Abia State Government appears set to quit many traders from the market.

Already, those operating at the Park 1 and Park 2 of the famous market in the Enyimba city have been served quit notices by the Abia State Market Development Council recently set up by the State Government to regulate market development in the state.

Uncertainty now reigns in the market as the quit notices have sparked off anxiety and despondency among affected jittery traders under the umbrella of Ariaria Frontline Traders Association (AFNATA). Consequently, they have raised the alarm, describing the document handed down to them as nothing but an invitation to hardship and sudden deaths on the hapless traders as landlords would suddenly turn tenants.

Chairman of AFNATA, Mr Augustine Iheanacho, told newsmen in Aba that panic-stricken members of the association were now uncertain about their future.

Iheanacho said that the quit notice given them “to leave Park 1 and 2 in Ariaria International Market could result in the death of many traders who are aged because they do not have up to N350,000 to pay annual rent at the Aba Mega Mall.”

He decried the move  by government asking AFNATA members to vacate shops which they erected by themselves after buying and receiving allocation papers for the plots from government at a time when the economy was very bad and life uneasy for most people.

Iheanacho lamented: “We built these shops by ourselves from the scratch. We said that even if they want us to pack out, they should not quit us so abruptly, thereby making a landlord today to become a tenant tomorrow because we paid government to get allocation papers for the land and to build it up.

“We also pay government everything they ask us to pay. We pay tax, security money, sanitation, infrastructural levy and annual rent and, besides, most of us have paid these taxes for year 2016 before they started asking us to quit.

“These levies and taxes amount to over N10,000 yearly and it is from the little we make from our trading that we use to feed our families, train our children in school and meet other obligations.

“If they force us out of here, many of us will die and for many, their children will stop going to school because of lack of money.”

He, therefore, passionately appealed to the State Governor, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, to quickly wade into the matter before the Council begins enforcement of the quit notice.

Efforts made to reach the Chairman of Abia Market Development Council, Chief  Solomon Nwigwe, through his phone line and visits to his office were unsuccessful. But it was gathered that government’s alleged intention to rebuild the place may be the reason for the quit notice.

However, the governor who visited the zone in Ariaria last Monday and left after inspection did not speak on the matter.

Only recently while hosting leaders of Anambra Town Unions in Aba at Government House, Umuahia, Ikpeazu debunked rumours making the rounds that his administration was planning to relocate the Ariaria International Market.

•Photo shows Governor Ikpeazu.

Source News Express

Posted 23/05/2016 04:00:20 AM


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