By Jacob Ajom
Traders and patrons of Ariaria International Market had cause to smile yesterday when they got to the market to see it wearing a new look after the massive clean-up exercise undertaken on Sunday by the Abia State Markets Development Committee (ASMDC).
The ASMDC, a special purpose vehicle initiative of the Abia state governor, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu to restore sanity to all the markets in the state, mobilized contractors who moved into the market with more than 20 trucks to dig up and evacuate waste and, at the end of the exercise, the famous ‘Ukwu Mango’ side of Faulks Road was opened up after it had been rendered impassable for over six months.
Sunday’s clean-up exercise, according to Chief Nwaigwe Solomon Nwaigwe, Chairman of the ASMDC, was the fourth time the committee was undertaking such as part of stop-gap measures to alleviate the sufferings of the traders preparatory to when a comprehensive over-haul of the entire market infrastructure will take place.
“Today’s exercise was concentrated in areas of distress where traders faced the most difficulty. For instance, we cleared off the debris around ‘Ukwu mango’ and A-line side of Faulks Road and opened up that axis which has been impassable for the past six months due to flooding and waste. We are adopting a practical approach to the issue so that traders would suffer minimum discomfort and that is why we decided to do this on a Sunday. There would be some form of inconvenience to some people but we crave their understanding because we will all benefit when the project is completed. We are not relenting until we restore our markets to their place of pride.”
Ariaria market, reputedly, West Africa’s largest market, has suffered the menace of flooding occasioned by clogged waterways over the years and this had become a dent on the reputation of the market with customers opting to go elsewhere to transact their businesses.
Chief Lucky Akubueze, chairman of the Ariara Traders Association was full of praise for Governor Ikpeazu for his determination to leave a lasting legacy and foresight in setting up the ASMDC which is changing things for better in Abia markets.
Speaking in the same vein, a stakeholder in Ariaria International market, Chief Melody canvassed support for the committee and all other activities of the governor which are geared at making life easier for Abians.