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Abia Govt set to remodel markets, begins demolition of weak structures

Oyo govt begins demolition of structures in Ibadan

Abia State Government has said that it would pull down all structures with defects in all the markets in the state, starting with markets in Aba, the state’s commercial hub, to save the lives of traders and their patrons.

The decision, which is in line with the urban renewal programme of the current administration in the state, will also pave the way for the remodeling of the markets to bring them up to modern standards.

Aba, as a commercial hub, hosts some of the biggest markets in the South-East/South-South Zones of Nigeria, which includes Ariaria International Market, Ekeoha (Shopping Centre) Market- popular for textile; Ahia Ohuru, which stocks clothing and food items and Eziukwu Market that stocks mostly beverages, cosmetics and stockfish.

These markets host patrons from all parts of Nigeria and the West Coast and Central African countries.

Some structures in these markets were not properly constructed and are now death traps.

Read also: Taking Abians out of their comfort zones

Recall also that sometime in July 2023, a line of shops collapsed at Ekeoma Market, Aba; no life was however, lost.

Consequently, the State Government, through Town Planning Authorities in five Local Government Areas of Aba, namely Aba North, Aba South, Osisioma, Ugwunagbo and Obingwa, were at the market Friday to commence demolition of all weak structures in the market.

Uche Ukeje, senior special assistant to Governor Alex Otti on Aba Urban Rejuvenation, said that the exercise was aimed at safeguarding the health and safety of people, who do business in the market.

Ukeje, in a telephone interview emphasised that any structure in the markets that cannot serve the purpose they were designed, would be removed.

According to him, “What commenced today is Government’s plan to remove those structures with defect. When they’re removed for safety and health reasons only, government will now create a policy on how to structure the markets, going forward.

“Bear in mind that Aba is a commercial city and Aba is also a city, where Governor Alex Otti got most of the votes, so whatever government is going to decide, will be something that would improve commerce.

“He understands the economy and wants to boost the state’s internally generated revenue; so, we will not destroy anything. We would build instead.”

He noted that no building that is safe will be brought down, and that no building that can be rescued will be brought down.

He further said that policy of government was that people must be safe first, wherever they find themselves within the state, stressing that government does not want markets or structures to collapse and kill people.

Read also: Abia govt enforces strict adherence to annual budget estimates for capital projects

“You will recall that last week in Umuahia, a building that was found to be weak, was brought down by government,” he said.

He further said that government wanted to ensure that people are safe, by ensuring that proper oversight is paid to every building that is being erected in the state, by the right authorities.

“So, what we are doing does not include rebuilding or determining, who will build. We are not there yet. What we are doing now is to ensure that whoever that is in the market is safe and once we are done with that, the governor will inform us on the next line of action,” Ukeje said.