By Chimaobi Nwaiwu
NNEWI —Traders will not pack into the N4 billion Onitsha Aluminium Market in July next year as proposed except Anambra State completes the Oze Nkwelle Ezunaka and Umeeze Abor Ogbunike Road, all in Oyi Local Government Area, which lead to the market. The Aluminium and Allied Dealers Technical Association, OAADTA, disclosed this in an interview with the South East Voice.
President General of the market traders association, Chief Ifeanyi Okeke, spoke when the leadership of the market led the traders on an assessment tour of work said to nearing completion. The tour was also meant to convince some doubting traders who still feel reluctant to make their contributions towards the project, that they may not have any place in the market if they continue to delay in the payment.
The traders who were mainly trading along Oguta Road in Onitsha metropolis, had embarked on the project in compliance with the state government’s anti -street trading campaign. The government had embarked on anti-street campaign following the disruption of free flow of traffic by the traders.
According to Chief Okeke, “in spite of the high cost of building materials, the union is doing its best in carrying out the project, but our greatest problem towards moving into the market as you can see that over 50 percent of work has been done, is the poor road network leading to the market which is located in remote outlying villages.
“We also want to inform the traders that from now to August, any trader that fails to contribute up to N600,000 towards the project stand a risk of having his shop allocation revoked or paying additional money as penalty.”
The Managing Director of Ponnovic Construction Company handling the market project, Chief Victor Nnabuchi, said the market started withthe building of an irreducible minimum of 800 shops, adding that presently, there are about 3000 shops measuring 24 feet each or more the said “however, about 200 shops were cut off to ensure that parking spaces were created in the market while a 3500 feet gap between the roads were created and the shops have twenty four feet space to accommodate the traders.
“We, the contractors are trying to ensure that the project moves on. The market is so big that what is already on the ground is less than what will be built. This market is going to be one of the biggest if not the biggest in the state, you can see the space still remaining. Before we complete all we are doing here including the other buildings that are yet to start, we are going to spend about N5 billion.
“The Aluminium traders are well over 2000 in population and for them to be accommodated well, we must make substantial number of stores and shops available. We are constructing many stores so that when they are moving in, they move in groups so that before July next year everything would be ready. The roads have been designed and approved and they are going to be the best in the state because there will be shopping plazas and other projects by the government opposite the market,” he said.
Some of the facilities that will be seen in this market are banks, police posts, security post, canteen, park, there will not be anything seen in modern market that will not be in this market. Chairman of Oyi Local Government Area, Mr. Uchenna Okafor, represented by the secretary to the council area, Chinedum Udeagwu, commended the leadership of the market over the speed with it was carrying out the project, adding that it was not easy to ask people to contribute money for building projects.
He, however, told the traders that the road was already in the budget and would be funded as a contractor had been assigned to it, pointing out that the construction would be funded to serve both the traders and the villagers in the area.
Chief Kenneth Maduakor, who is the Chairman of Board of Trustees of the market, said they had itemized all their needs in the market, and would queue behind Governor Willie Obiano in his efforts to develop the state.