BY OSWALD AGWU
The Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Ebonyi State chapter has intervened in the crises between the state government and traders over relocation to new market.
The intervention resulted in government’s further extension of the deadline for movement of Abakpa Main Market traders to the new International Market from October 15 to January 10, 2020.
Governor Umahi who announced the extension during a joint meeting between a delegation of CAN, traders and government on Thursday at the Governor’s Lodge, Abakaliki, also announced the relocation of the Building Materials Market to the morribond state owned building materials factory at Ezzangbo in Ohaukwu local government area of the state.
Addressing the traders, the governor directed that the agreement reached at the meeting should be signed by all concerned, warning the traders against politicizing the grace extended to them by government.
He directed that the shops belonging to all those who instituted a suit against government over the matter should be resealed until all pending cases in court be withdrawn.
Recall that traders at the Abakpa Market and the Building Materials Market, Abakaliki had been in running battle over government’s relocation order.
Some leadership of the traders’ association had dragged the government to court challenging the order as forceful eviction.
The incessant crises which trailed the development resulted to sealing of some shops in the market by the government, which was later reopened following plea by CAN.
The governor at the meeting constituted a joint working committee headed by Secretary to the State Government, Kenneth Ugbala to coordinate allocation of shops at the International market and the Ezzangbo building materials site for the Abakpa and building material trader respectively.
Umahi further offered the Lot 4 of the International market free of charge for the traders to develop on their own as well as one year free rent for Lots 2 and 3.
He however, explained that the rent which was yet to be determined for the lots would be uniform irrespective of the model and available facilities.
Umahi taunted those who allegedly accuse CAN of collecting money to take sides with government, describing the CAN chairman as a man of stubborn integrity.
Umahi stressed: “Some people are saying that CAN has collected money and I pity them because they are already on their way to hell fire.
“All the shops that were sealed before should be sealed back today before 2 o’clock.
“Seal also the shops of those that took us to court in building material…
“Anybody that wants to bring in politics into this thing I am equal to the task.
“Some of you went to social media and wrote all kinds of rubbish that you wouldn’t have voted for me but this matter is at a time i don’t need your vote again, if you want to put it that way.
“I have no interest in that place.
“I am going to move the date of relocation of the market to 10th of January 2020 to honour CAN, but CAN I must get an agreement from all of them.
“Anybody that is a market person that does not sign this agreement individually must leave by 10th.
“Building materials and Aluminum , I said it that day in the church that God spoke to me and said you should move to Ezzamgbo building material. “You better go there now: the final date for movement is on 10th.
“Why I allow you to still be there is because by November we are going to inject N7.5 billion into the economy to build houses for schools and teachers and we want to patronize you while you are here.”
Earlier, the state CAN chairman and the Senior Special Assistant to Governor Umahi on Religion and Welfare Matters, Rev. Fr. Abraham Nwali, who also headed the mediatory committee, had informed the governor that the traders had agreed to drop all their misgivings against government and have accepted to relocate to the new market.
He however solicited that government offer some palliatives to ease the traders’ movement.
Some traders who spoke, including Mr. Emeka Nwome and Chief Humphrey Uche indicated their resolve to abide by government’s order on the relocation.