By Chancel Sunday
BOMADI—TRADERS at the Bomadi-Overside Market in Bomadi Local Government Area of Delta State have threatened to embark on protest to the Niger- Delta Development Commission, NDDC, office in Port Harcourt, Rivers State over the continued failure of the commission to inaugurate the ultra-modern motor park/market project in the community, two years after its completion.
The traders weekend at Bomadi, headquarters of the council, issued a two-week ultimatum to the commission, to as a matter of urgency open the facility for use, failure of which they would carry out their threat.
Led by Mrs Bridget Kosin, the aggrieved traders noted that the planned protest march to NDDC office in Port-Harcourt is not only to highlight their sufferings but also compel the commission to explain the reason for its refusal to inaugurate the facility.
“We are prepared to charter buses to go to the NDDC office in Port Harcourt for a protest, in order for them to explain to us why they have refused to commission the market for our use.
“The long delay in opening the market has impacted negatively on our businesses. All our efforts over the years to open this place for business activities had been fruitless. So, we have decided to embark on a protest to know why the market has remained locked till date and why NDDC refused to commission it for us since its completion two years ago,” she said.
Time to act
The Bomadi town executive, speaking through the vice- chairman of the community, Mr Senator Ebikeme, backed the market traders’ decision, saying that it had become necessary for beneficiaries of the project to take action.
“We have made all kinds of efforts to make sure this park is open for business activities but to no avail. This time around, we have taken a decision: the market women, the youths and the community have decided to proceed to NDDC office in Port Harcourt to protest.
“We want to know why this beautifully completed project is locked and dormant for over two years without commissioning. We are going for a major protest after two weeks of this publication. We need this place because it is our business hub.
Community seeks Reps intervention
“We know that our representative, Hon. Nicholas Mutu, is the House Committee chairman on NDDC in the House of Representatives. I know he is a very nice man, but I want to know if he is not aware of our predicament in this issue.
“He has been coming home often and I think he has been seeing this completed project under key and lock.
“Let him use his good offices to solve this situation. We are appealing to him that his constituents are suffering, market traders are suffering and he should intervene to do the needful to get us out of this ugly situation,” he said.
NDDC should stand on side of progress—Bishop
However, the Bishop of Bomadi Diocese of the Catholic Church, Most Rev. Hyacinth Egbebo, MSP, has urged the commission to be on the side of progress.
He said: “I would like to advise very strongly that the NDDC should be on the side of progress. Leaving a facility of this kind unused wouldn’t be the initiative of government. The project has been done and the people are ready to use it.
“Unless they come clean with explanations that will justify this delay, it is casting a cloud over their integrity as a government agency.
I’m advising strongly that they don’t justify people’s speculations that are not really awesome. I stay in this place and this project is beneficial to all of us.
“NDDC should be up and doing and make sure they are on the side of progress. Trading on roadsides and on the bridge is dangerous for our women. We want economic activities to boom here, NDDC should do what is right for the people.”