As part of steps for the commencement of work on the construction of 200 lockup shops in the Ogogonogo market, Asaba, the Delta State Government has ordered traders at the market to relocate to the makeshift market provided by the Oshimili South Local Government.
The Commissioner for Trade and Investment, Hon. Chika Ossai, who gave the order at the Ogbeogonogo market during an interaction with the traders, said that the market project was not negotiable and that traders should adhere to the directives of the state government.
Ossai said that the Governor, Senator (Dr.) Ifeanyi Okowa, recognised traders and so his order was not to undermine them but aimed at developing the state capital.
“The state government has done a lot of palliative for traders by making provision for makeshift market in order for traders not to suffer any loss.
“The governor will not undermine traders because you all are the reason he is the governor today. And I am assuring you that in the course of this project, shops owners will suffer no lose.
“All the state government need is your cooperation to make sure the project is successful”, he said.
On the issue of the cost of the rent for the new shops, which the traders raised in the meeting, the Commissioner said the alleged fee ranging from N3 million to N6 million was false, adding that the agreed fee ranged from N1.5 million to N2.1 million.
He said the shop owner would pay the money for a stipulated time, as agreed with the local government.
Ossai urged traders to co-operate with the right leaders only and stay away from those who were ready to protract crisis between traders and government for their selfish interest.
On his part, the Chairman, Oshimili South Local Government, Hon. Uche Osadebe, while appealing to traders to cooperate with the state government, said the present administration was determined to rebuild Ogbogonogo market to give a facelift to the capital city.
He debunked the allegation that he was given N20 million by the project contractor, Ekweogidi and sons to evacuate them (shop owners).
From the Asagba’s palace, the Secretary, Otu-Ihaza/Ogbeogonogo Market Committee from the Palace, Charles Okocha, pleaded with the state government to ensure the palace was carried along in whatever development that would be carried out in the community.
He said the community would only know the government’s intention when they are carried along.
Earlier, the President Ikpohoahaba, Ezinne Angela Nolah, noted that the Ogbeogonogo was an ancestral market, pleading with the state government to allow a part of the market to serve women who could not afford the high rent of the proposed lockup shops.
She suggested that the state government should acquire land elsewhere and build a better standard market for the state needs.