By Ewa Innocent,The Sight News
Abakaliki: Ebonyi state government has extended the relocation deadline of Abakpa main market traders, Abakaliki, to 10th of January 2020.
The traders had earlier been given up to 15th October, 2019 as deadline to relocate to the new Margaret Umahi International market, newly constructed or face the wrath of government.
The construction of Margaret Umahi International market was started by the immediate past governor of Ebonyi state, Chief Martin Elechi, but was finished to an International standard by governor David Umahi.
Addressing the traders during the joint meeting held at governor’s lodge, government house, Abakaliki,Governor David Umahi who was visibly unhappy over the attitude of traders to relocate even after having several meetings with them, told the traders that sufficient time has been given to them, as this was the last chance to yield to their request, warning that government would no longer extend the period of relocation, after the 10th of January 2020 deadline.
Umahi, explained that the shift was made possible following an intervention of Christian Association of Nigeria(CAN),Ebonyi state chapter,and ordered that the shops of traders that took government to court,and refused to withdraw the matter, be sealed off for working against the interest of other traders in the market.
According to him, “All the shops that were unsealed should be sealed back today. We are prepared to enter into appearance with those who took us to court. Seal also the shops of those who took us to court in building material. Now if people want to bring politics into this, I am equal to the task.
“Those who want to move on January 10 should move and those who want to move before then,should do so,but that is the last day of grace”.
Governor Umahi announced the constitution of a joint committee headed by the secretary to the state government, Dr.Kenneth Ugbala,to coordinate the allocation of stores at International market and plots of land at Ezzangbo building materials site,where traders of building materials are being relocated.
He however offered lot four(4) at Margaret Umahi International market free of charge,to be developed by traders,with one year tax free holiday, stressing that any trader who fails to comply with the agreement to be signed for relocation,would be compelled by the government to leave before the deadline.
Earlier,the chairman of CAN,Ebonyi state chapter, Rev.Father Abraham Nwali, who is also the chairman of the committee constituted to intervene in the impasse,had told governor David Umahi,that the Abakpa traders had now realised themselves and accepted to relocate, but advocated for more palliatives to enhance their smooth movements to International market and Ezzangbo building materials site.