We find it very important to write you with a view to making our positions on the above subject clear and unambiguous considering that you have resolved to build the lockup shops on the Cooperative Trading Centre (CTC) Market without recourse to inputs from several stakeholders.
Last January, we made representation to you when we got information that somebody was knocking down the market. You responded that you were not privy to the malicious damage and that you will make the trespasser to face the full weight of the law. We are not aware you kept that promise.
Few months ago, we got information that the council authority under your watch was going to pull down the market with the intention of building lockup shops on “Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) basis. It was reported that the first phase will consist of hundred (100) shops to be completed in three weeks while the second phase made up of three hundred (300) shops will be completed in a year.
In reaction to the online news report, we wrote you, objecting to the proposal on many grounds. These grounds include:
- That the project has no guarantee of completion as you enunciated it few months to the end of your tenure.
- That you denied last January of your involvement in the demolition of the open shops only to return to the market few months later to complete the demolition.
- That there were no consultations with relevant stakeholders including market unions and residents.
We further stated in the referred letter that our opposition was not personal as we had opposed your predecessor when he made attempt to build a mall at The Government Field because he did not consult widely with stakeholders.
As a result of the letter transmitted to you, you requested a dialogue with us. We thus held a meeting with you July 19, 2020.
At the meeting, you informed us amongst others that:
- No agreement has been made with any developer/investor
- Stakeholders will be approached in making decisions relating to the development of the market. You went further to appeal that we nominate representative in a committee you were going to set up aimed at developing a framework to build the lockup shops.
- Nobody has been presented any space for makeshift shops at the Edike New Market.
- A new makeshift market will be built at Edike Junction to accommodate those to be displaced at the CTC Market.
- Post Office staff is encroaching/allocating land beside the post office to traders which belongs to government.
In our response, we thank you for allaying our fears that neither the project has started nor allocation of shops has commenced.
On 24th of August, 2020, we sent a delegation to meet with you when we got additional information that you had gone ahead to commission a developer/investor negating the resolution we reached with you.
At the meeting you held with our delegation, you said:
- Each shop will be allocated on down payment of between N2.5m and N3m
- Maintenance fee to be paid by each shop owner to the developer/investor for twenty years.
- The CTC Market will be converted to building materials market.
For the umpteenth time, we remain supportive of the project but kindly peruse our genuine reservations which include:
- An Ika South developer/ investor should be given the right of first refusal.
- Payment of between N2.5m and N3m for a shop is outrageous and exploitative.
- The market should be for general wares such as groceries, fabrics, beverages, foods and other sundry items but not building materials.
- Down payment of such huge sum is unacceptable as the developer/ investor is not bringing any fund.
- The choice of a developer who is developing markets in other local government areas is laden with innuendos as it further negates the resolution reached that no deal has been reached.
- We recall with great pains the fallout of past attempt to rebuild Baleke Market yesteryears. It will be foolish to support any tendency that will navigate us to such inglorious past.
Finally, we reinstate our support for a new market in Agbor metropolis with modern facilities. However, the market must not be motivated by inherent interest to exploit the already impoverished traders due to current harsh financial realities.
Against these backdrops, we appeal that you put a hold to the project until these issues are clearly resolved.
- Mr. Echi Obue (JP)–Chairman
- Mr. Williams Eghebi–Secretary
- Mr. Steve Ikpade–Leader
- Hon Festus Chukwuyem Okoh–Leader
- Comrade Lawrence Onahor—Financial Secretary
- Mr. Jude Oyibo—Treasurer
- Mr. Joe Morgan
- Hon Fred Ofume
- Mr. Victor Akwe
- Mr. Hilary Ajuebon
- Mr. Eugene Orewa
- Mr. Benedict Ebede
- Barr Ndidi Ofume