By Ijendu Iheaka
Abia Commissioner for Trade and Investment, Chief Okiyi Kalu has reiterated government’s commitment to complete re-modeling a set of 1,440 shops in Ariaria International Market before May 29.
Kalu made the disclosure Saturday evening during a facility tour with newsmen in Abia.
He said that the set of three blocks of shops have conveniences, elevators, electronically controlled doors, and spaces for commercial banks to operate.
He said the quality of the block of shops being built in Ariaria International Market is a sample defining government’s vision of what Ariaria International Market should be.
“We are saying to administration after us that the minimal standard is what we have made the matter for.
“And that we expect they will follow this standard and deliver in phases, a standard international market for Ariaria traders”, he said.
Kalu said that the shops were enough to accommodate all displaced traders stressing that only three out of 14 blocks on the demolished A-Line are nearing completion.
“In deed we will have more shops than we lost by the time the 14 blocks are completed and we expect that the work will continue”, he said.
He said the project has contractual obligations which would ensure continuation of work after the Ikpeazu administration had exited.
Kalu said that the project is a Private – Public Partnership and what the government did was to support the developer through a project bank guarantee to the tune of N1.5 billion.
He said that the guarantee has a repayment process that would ensure that the project continued and money recovered.
He said that Governor Okezie Ikpeazu has directed Ariaria Market Committee to pump out water from Ife-Obara pond to ensure the problem of flooding is overcome.
“At the moment, we are issuing allocation papers to the original owners of shops on A-Line that have fully complied with the developer.
“From second week of May, those traders whose shops are ready, can return to their shops”, he said.
He said that the market will run on a three power supply tripod that comprises supply from Ariaria Independent Power, (IPP), Aba Power Ltd and a Solar System backup.
Kalu said that the government had developed an independent security architecture for Ariaria International Market which makes it one of the most secured markets around.
He said the market has a community policing project by traders, the Nigeria Police and other Security agencies in the market that secures its facilities.
He noted that the foundation laid by Ikpeazu in healthcare, education, road infrastructure, if a brilliant man takes over, can be used to deliver el-dorado in Abia.
He said that the Ariaria International Market Re-Modeling Project Implementation and Monitoring Committee had been tactically dissolved because they were meeting to share money.
He said persons in government who don’t own shops on A-Line have been inundating him with requests to give them shops there which he had rejected because it was immoral.
He said that some of them have even gone to the length of sending hoodlums to attack him but he had not backed down.