Gov Hope Uzodinma of Imo has assured traders who lost their shops in the demolished Eke-ukwu Main Market on Douglas Road, Owerri, priority during the allocation of stalls.
The Commissioner for Commerce in Imo, Mr. Simon Ibegbulem, made the disclosure in Owerri on Sunday when he led a team of journalists to inspect the project.Ibegbulam said that the project which was over 40 percent completed, would be rounded up and inaugurated by December, 2022.
The commissioner said that the market, located at the heart of Owerri metropolis, was pulled down by former Gov. Rochas Okorocha’s administration.
He said the market had 2,925 lock-up stalls and would have modern facilities, including a bank, police post and fire service, among others, when completed.
He said that on completion, the state government would collaborate with the market association to ensure that traders who lost their shops in the demolished market were given priority during the allocation of stalls.
“There are at least 200 Owerri natives, who lost their shops in the old market. Such people and other original shop owners would be given price concession.
“For instance, if a shop would go for N2 million or N3 million, they may be asked to pay less as a way to compensate them for the loss they suffered,” Ibegbulem said.
In his remarks, Mr Declan Emelumba, the state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, explained that the governor decided to rebuild the facility because it remained the only Owerri ancestral market.
“When the governor assumed office, prominent Owerri people paid him a courtesy visit during which they cried out over the abandonment of the market after it was demolished.
“They pleaded with him to come to their rescue and rebuild their only ancestral market and the governor assured them that he would rebuild it.
“So, what he has done is to wipe away the tears of Owerri people,” Emelumba said.He further said that the project was being executed through a Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement.
Emelumba also conducted the newsmen round the Fashion Cluster, being built by the state, in conjunction with the Federal Government to promote small and medium enterprises.
NAN reports that the facility is equipped with more than 500 modern machines for sewing and designing and solar panels for 24-hour electricity supply.
Emelumba said the facility would provide the platform for trained tailors and fashion designers, who had no capital to acquire their own machines, to rent and do their businesses.
He said the state government also gave N250,000 startup capital to 1,500 youths, who were trained in different skills, such as dressmaking, hairdressing, shoemaking and welding, among others.the present administration