The President of New Market Traders Association, Owerri Imo State, Chief Kingsley Anyalewechi, has confirmed that the state government has given the traders till December, this year, to move to their new site at Avu owerri West LGA.
Anyalewechi, who spoke to Christian Voice, recently, said that the Deputy Chief of Staff in the Government House, Hon Kingsley Uju, visited them on October 31 and “handed the traders the new site at Avu and directed them to clear it to enable them to move before the end of December”.
Although the move has created tension among the traders, he said the traders would not challenge the governor's directives, saying that “he meant well for the state.”
According to him, the governor had earlier moved the Nkwo Umuchima market in his home town Ogboko, Ideato South LGA.
However, one of the traders who spoke on condition of anonymity said; “my brother, we have been informed by the governor to leave this place and move to Avu.
The motor parts dealers are to move to Avu while some would move to Relief Market. We are afraid that what happened to Eke Ukwu market might repeat itself here.”
Reacting, an Anglican clergy man, Rev. Chidi Nlemchukwu, of the Christ's (Ang) Church Oforola, described the relocation notice as ill-timed, considering that Christmas is at the corner.
He regretted that the demolitions in the state, especially that of Eke Ukwu market, created poverty in the state adding that many parents are still battling to pay school fees of their children and wards.
The cleric called for adequate compensation to those whose goods and shops were destroyed and expressed optionsm that the relocation to Avu will bring the needed development to the area and decongest Owerri Municipality.
New market, located close to Wetheral /Douglas Road, is considered the second largest market in the municipality, especially cornering motor spare parts.
It is second to Eke Ukwu which was demolished in August, this year, as part of the government's urban renewal programme.