Gov. Ikpeazu Remains Outstanding, Traders Pours Accolades As The Reconstruction Of Ariaria International Market Commences

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One of the largest markets in West Africa, the Ariaria International Market was established in 1976 following a fire outbreak that destroyed the old Ekeoha Market in Aba, the commercial nerve center of Abia State

Nicknamed “China of Africa” , “Japan of Africa”, because of its versatility in the making of wears and leather works, Ariaria International Market, an open-air market has numerous names adorned to its status, which also include, the pride of the Southeast.

From findings, the first to come to the place were the timber dealers.
The market, which does not suffer from congestion, has a construction designed to accommodate about 40,000
stores.

The economic importance of the Ariaria Market remains the fact that it is the place traders go to buy and sell and if you look at some of the things that are being done in Aba, you will discover that the Market has an overwhelming economic importance within the Southeasterner region, Nigeria and by extension West Africa.

But before the administration of Governor Okezie Ikpeazu came on board, the major challenges that had faced the international market is that of bad roads. Also the gutters and tunnels in the market eerey blocked, creating drainage problems in the market and making the roads impassable during the rainy seasons.

As a result of these headaches, Ariaria International Market did not only lose its international quality, but, to a large extent its local quality, as traders find it scratchy trading in the market anymore, due to surging flooding that covers the entire market when it rains, damaging goods and property worth millions of Naira.

The dilapidated environment of the market is ever ready to pull down tears from even the eyes of a stonehearted person, except the governor. When this writer visited the market for first hand information, it was wailing and gnashing of teeth by not only the traders, but, also, those who came from far and near to buy one item or the other in the market.

It did not only lose its international quality, but, to a large extent its local quality, as traders find it scratchy trading in the market anymore, due to surging flooding that covers the entire market when it rains, damaging goods and property worth millions of naira.

The dilapidated environment of the market is ever ready to pull down tears from even the eyes of a stonehearted person, except the governor. When this writer visited the market for first hand information, it was wailing and gnashing of teeth by not only the traders, but, also, those who came from far and near to buy one item or the other in the market.

This was Ariaria Market, which is the largest industry in the whole of West Africa with an estimated two million traders, which also operates just like any other international market anywhere in the world as any kind of product, both for human consumption and usage, is readily available.

It is also undisputable that Ariaria people are well known for their dexterity in business transactions. They import goods like shoes, men and women wears and every kind of leather material from different parts of the world, including China, Korea, the United States of America and Brazil.

The market has, since inception, been attracting customers from all over the federation, especially from Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Rivers, all the Eastern states and even from Cameroon, as Cameroonians are major buyers of leather products,
particularly shoes manufactured in the market.

It’s imperative to declare that the government of Okezie Ikpeazu understood the importance of the market to Ndigbo and Nigerians at large and perturbed by the sorry conditions of the market, honestly responded to the plight of traders and buyers in the market, and commenced the redevelopment work in A-Line, C-Line and Medical Line in Ariaria International Market, Aba since Wednesday, September 8, 2021.

Dr. Ikpeazu, the man with milk of human kindness, graciously approved the commencement of phased redevelopment of Ariaria International Market from Sunday, 5th September 2021, according to a statement released by the Honourable Commissioner for Information, of the State, John Okiyi Kalu.

Kalu revealed that the administration has made several efforts to reconstruct the 47 year old market to tackle its age-long
structural issues with many of the shops as well as provide the necessary modern infrastructure to deal with the perennial flooding challenges to traders.

He revealed further that after a final
consultative meeting with stakeholders of Ariaria International Market on Tuesday, 24th August 2021, Governor Ikpeazu approved the phased redevelopment of the
market as follows:

“Traders currently doing business along A-Line, C-Line and Medical
Line are to relocate from their shops on or before the close of business on Saturday, 4th September 2021 to enable the
commencement of work the following day, Sunday, 5th September 2021.

“Also, those affected are to temporarily relocate to Ekumi Shopping plaza or other available shops within the market.

“The developers have committed to
completing the required work in the phase which includes the establishment of proper drainage channels within the affected lines,
construction of new shops and parks, before the first week of December 2021.

“Abia state government will through
subsequent press releases publish the names of existing shop allottees who are guaranteed of their return to the reconstructed shops after completion of the first phase. It is important to state that no existing shop allottee will lose his/her shop after the work.

“Trading activities are expected to continue in other lines that are not affected by the first phase of the redevelopment project while the appointed developers, Messrs
Blessed Henkel International Company, are expected to work with the market committee and security agents to ensure full security within the market during the period of redevelopment.

“Government wishes to assure traders that it will work to ensure minimal disruptions to trading activities while executing this project which has now been made more urgent and crucial because of the recent flooding forecast from the Nigeria Meteorological Agency, NiMet.

“We will also not in any way tolerate any attempt by any individual or group to disrupt the planned work as we have consulted widely enough and given enough grace
period, long before now, for alternative solutions which never yielded any meaningful result,” the statement read.

For the traders and lovers of good things, it is a huge sigh of relief and great optimism that soon Ariaria International Market will regain its past glory.

Also, it has become a story of praise and pouring of encomium on Governor Okezie Ikpeazu for making it a reality.

An elated trader in C-Line, Mr. Okechukwu who could not hide his feelings said “We never saw this blessing coming, the Governor heard the cry of his people moved into action, we can’t thanks him enough”.

Mrs. Elizabeth a trader in A-Line also said, “We the market women cannot thank the Governor enough. If we knew that the governor had a very good plan for us, we wouldn’t have been complaining. Please tell the governor that we are proud of him, God bless him.”

It is always difficult to impress everyone but when you are on the right track and you know your direction, the rest will wait for the day of reward.

The commencement of the redevelopment work in A-Line, C-Line and Medical Line in Ariaria International Market, Aba is another testimony that Okezie is focused on transforming Abia State to top in the list of Major Cities in Nigeria which he has almost achieved.

Of a truth, the popular Ariaria International Market will wear a more befitting and elegant look as soon as Gov. Ikpeazu finished his wonderful works in the market.

Source: Loveday Chidi

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