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At last a breath of fresh air at Ariaria International Market

BY PETER OKUTU
The popular Ariaria International Market in Abia state is said to be getting ready to wear a more befitting and elegant look as the state government recently embarked on the reconstruction of its internal roads. This includes the overhaul of all the drainages linking the entire market for the purpose of creating both an enabling environment for businesses to thrive and to safeguard the health of Abians and foreigners who transact businesses within and outside the market.

Confirming the award of contract for this purpose, the Chief Press Secretary to the Abia State Governor, Mr. Ugochukwu Emezue noted that the essence of the contract was to ensure uninterrupted accessibility to the market by both traders and buyers of goods and services.

*Work in progress...One of the roads being reconstructed to serve Ariaria.

He said: “When you have accessible roads it makes it possible for people to come this place to transact their businesses under a favourable condition. If the place is not accessible who will come to patronize your goods?

For us, it has opened another vista of opportunity as people from Anambra, Cross Rivers, Lagos, among others, come to Aba for businesses. For us, Aba is a brand and all that come into the minds of people as they visit Aba is production. In fact, Aba is the Japan of Nigeria.

“Definitely, the hallmark of this administration is sincerity of purpose. Anybody working for the state government is working towards one goal- to take Abia State to the next level. This is something that has not been in place before.

You will discover that the transformational agenda of the present administration does not only revolve around Ariaria market. The Owerri-Port Harcourt  Federal highway was reconstructed by the State Governor, Chief T. A. Orji.

“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 South East and by extension Nigeria.

If you buy a shoe now, hardly can you tell the difference between the one made outside the country and the one here. I tell you that people wear made-in-Aba wears as if they were made in America. People are coming here to invest in our goods and as they come, they are helping our economy to grow.

“The traders here are skilled and have been providing employment for youths in the area. For us, that place is a hub of economic activities in the state. The state government is trying to make sure that whoever comes here is comfortable and at the end of the day the state benefits”.

Vanguard Metro, VM, gathered that the market commenced commercial activities in 1976 as a result of the fire  that engulfed the popular Aba Ikoha Market. Traders there were duly relocated to Ariaria. The first  to come to the place were the timber dealers.

The market, which does not suffer from congestion, has an estimated  7,000 stores that are unoccupied in a construction designed to accommodate about 40,000 stores. But some of the traders who spoke with VM appealed to the Governor to come to their rescue by making sure that all street traders come into the market.

Ariaria Market, from findings, remains the largest industry in the whole of West Africa with an estimated two million traders.

It 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. Observers are of the view 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 Rivers, Rivers, all the Eastern states and even from Cameroun. Camerounians are major buyers of leather products, particularly shoes manufactured in the market.

Indeed the market is particularly unique by reason of the presence of shoe manufacturers there. But like the Biblical prophets that are not recognised or celebrated at home, these shoe  manufacturers have long been crying for both state and Federal Government’s assistance to enable them boost their productivity quotient as they engage in fabrication of designer shoes.

Until recently the major challenges facing the international market is that of bad roads. The good news is that the intervention of the Governor may go a long way in addressing it.

He has graciously awarded the contract for the construction of seven internal roads in the market and work has commenced in earnest. This also entails opening up gutters and tunnels in the market that have been blocked for over   15 years, creating drainage problems in the market and making the roads impassable during the rainy seasons.

According to investigation, an estimated N25 million would be spent for the exercise by the state government.

It should be recalled that the market was previously governed by Aba North Local Government Area of the state. The state government decided to take it over when it became obvious that the local government could not run it  satisfactorily.

Subsequently,  government, through the State Ministry of Commerce, set up a new management board headed by Chief Francis Duru to run the affairs of the market. This followed serious criticisms over falling standard in the market. The new management board has since been assigned the responsibility of collecting every revenue accruable to the market for the purposes of maintaining standard there.

It is a challenge Chief Duru relishes.  According to him, his administration would bring about a turnaround in the physical development, revenue generation and standardization of the Market in no distant time.

He said: “We are very happy with the Governor of the State. They have now handed over the leadership of the market to the traders of the market. My government will buy three compressor tractors that will be in charge of refuse disposal, three tippers that will be going round the market to collect refuse so as to ensure that the market remains clean at all times. We have started the scooping of all the gutters and drainages and I believe that by the time we finish the construction of the roads, this market will regain its lost glory in the state and beyond.

“I will specially thank the Governor because of the timely intervention on the issue of road in the market which had been the problem of every successive administration”.

Confirming the award of contract for this purpose, the Chief Press Secretary to the Abia State Governor, Mr. Ugochukwu Emezue noted that the essence of the contract was to ensure uninterrupted accessibility to the market by both traders and buyers of goods and services.

He said: “When you have accessible roads it makes it possible for people to come this place to transact their businesses under a favourable condition. If the place is not accessible who will come to patronize your goods?

For us, it has opened another vista of opportunity as people from Anambra, Cross Rivers, Lagos, among others, come to Aba for businesses. For us, Aba is a brand and all that come into the minds of people as they visit Aba is production. In fact, Aba is the Japan of Nigeria.

“Definitely, the hallmark of this administration is sincerity of purpose. Anybody working for the state government is working towards one goal- to take Abia State to the next level. This is something that has not been in place before. You will discover that the transformational agenda of the present administration does not only revolve around Ariaria market. The Owerri-Port Harcourt  Federal highway was reconstructed by the State Governor, Chief T. A. Orji.

“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 South East and by extension Nigeria.

If you buy a shoe now, hardly can you tell the difference between the one made outside the country and the one here. I tell you that people wear made-in-Aba wears as if they were made in America. People are coming here to invest in our goods and as they come, they are helping our economy to grow.

“The traders here are skilled and have been providing employment for youths in the area. For us, that place is a hub of economic activities in the state. The state government is trying to make sure that whoever comes here is comfortable and at the end of the day the state benefits”.

Vanguard Metro, VM, gathered that the market commenced commercial activities in 1976 as a result of the fire  that engulfed the popular Aba Ikoha Market. Traders there were duly relocated to Ariaria. The first  to come to the place were the timber dealers.

The market, which does not suffer from congestion, has an estimated  7,000 stores that are unoccupied in a construction designed to accommodate about 40,000 stores. But some of the traders who spoke with VM appealed to the Governor to come to their rescue by making sure that all street traders come into the market.

Ariaria Market, from findings, remains the largest industry in the whole of West Africa with an estimated two million traders.

It 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. Observers are of the view 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 Rivers, Rivers, all the Eastern states and even from Cameroun. Camerounians are major buyers of leather products, particularly shoes manufactured in the market.

Indeed the market is particularly unique by reason of the presence of shoe manufacturers there. But like the Biblical prophets that are not recognised or celebrated at home, these shoe  manufacturers have long been crying for both state and Federal Government’s assistance to enable them boost their productivity quotient as they engage in fabrication of designer shoes.

Until recently the major challenges facing the international market is that of bad roads. The good news is that the intervention of the Governor may go a long way in addressing it.

He has graciously awarded the contract for the construction of seven internal roads in the market and work has commenced in earnest. This also entails opening up gutters and tunnels in the market that have been blocked for over   15 years, creating drainage problems in the market and making the roads impassable during the rainy seasons.

According to investigation, an estimated N25 million would be spent for the exercise by the state government.

It should be recalled that the market was previously governed by Aba North Local Government Area of the state. The state government decided to take it over when it became obvious that the local government could not run it  satisfactorily.

Subsequently,  government, through the State Ministry of Commerce, set up a new management board headed by Chief Francis Duru to run the affairs of the market. This followed serious criticisms over falling standard in the market. The new management board has since been assigned the responsibility of collecting every revenue accruable to the market for the purposes of maintaining standard there.

It is a challenge Chief Duru relishes.  According to him, his administration would bring about a turnaround in the physical development, revenue generation and standardization of the Market in no distant time.

He said: “We are very happy with the Governor of the State. They have now handed over the leadership of the market to the traders of the market. My government will buy three compressor tractors that will be in charge of refuse disposal, three tippers that will be going round the market to collect refuse so as to ensure that the market remains clean at all times. We have started the scooping of all the gutters and drainages and I believe that by the time we finish the construction of the roads, this market will regain its lost glory in the state and beyond.

“I will specially thank the Governor because of the timely intervention on the issue of road in the market which had been the problem of every successive administration”.


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Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.