Otti Tackles Ariaria Market Shop Allocation Crisis to Safeguard Abia’s Revenue Basket
In a bid to safeguard the quantum revenue yield from Ariaria International Market Aba, Governor Alex Otti has delved into the crisis generated by the allocation of shops in the remodelled section of the market.
The peace of Ariaria, which is regarded as Abia’s revenue basket, was rocked after the immediate past administration allocated shops in the remodelled A Line section of the market even when the project is still ongoing.
The ensuing crisis was inherited by the new government and with the high prospect of affecting revenue generation from Abia’s revenue basket, the governor needed to act fast.
Otti has therefore detailed the commissioner for trade, commerce and industry, Dr Chimezie Ukaegbu to fins a lasting solution to the shop allocation crisis.
The commissioner went on fact-finding visit to Ariaria market three days after his inauguration and assured the highly polarised and angry traders that I’m here to solve your problems”.
“I’m your servant that government has chosen to serve you and alleviate your problems,” he said, adding that he would ensure that Ariaria gets conducive environment for commercial activities to thrive.
Alluding to the political colouration that some traders had painted the controversial allocation of remodelled shops in the completed blocks, the commissioner said that he would get to the root of the matter.
“I’m here to get first hand information. This government is for the people. If you are from Labour Party, PDP, APC or any other party and you are a resident of Abia, we are here for you,” Chimezie said.
He further assured the restive traders that “everybody will be treated fairly and nobody will be deceived”, adding that he believes in fairness and transparency.
The trade and commerce commissioner said that he would discuss with the developer engaged by the immediate past government for the remodelling project to find a way out of the shop allocation crisis.
The Chairman of Ariaria Market Traders Association, Hon Ozoekwe Chikadibia lauded the Alex Otti administration for its prompt move to intervene in the rising tension in Ariaria.
He expressed optimism that the commissioner would achieve success in his mission to bring peace to Ariaria International Market and make the environment conducive for business.
The spokesman of the group of aggrieved traders under the aegis of Displaced Allotees, Kingsley Achonu told the commissioner that Ariaria was demarcated into zones and it should be maintained in the allocation of new shops.
He said that a situation where traders would come from Ultimate zone, for instance, and be allocated new shops at zones A and B thereby displacing the original shop owners was unacceptable.
After addressing the traders, the commissioner and his entourage were conducted round some sections of Ariaria by market leaders during which he witnessed first hand the structural decay and sordid environmental situation in the market.
The sections visited include A Line, Free Zone, Osisioma Industrial Line and Power Line where a fire outbreak consumed goods and properties estimated at billions of naira last Sunday.