Abia State Government has vowed to commence enforcement of the ban on street trading especially in the commercial city of Aba with effect from 2024.
Commissioner for Information, Prince Okey Kanu, who announced this during a press briefing after the State Executive Council meeting in Umuahia, decried the impacts of street traders, who, he lamented, had taken over many of the renovated roads in Aba.
He regretted that every appeal to the street traders to relocate to various markets in the city had fallen on deaf ears, but warned that the Government would no longer sit back to watch the menace continue unchecked.
“With all the efforts Government has made, this menace (street trading) keeps rearing its ugly head, particularly in Aba. Incidentally, most of the new roads that the government has constructed, people use them to trade, and this will not augur well for these new roads.
“There has been a lot of interface between government officials and the market authorities, and in other instances, the culprits as it were, everything has been done, but to no avail. Despite the fact that this government puts human face in its activities. By the New Year, government will go all out to enforce the law.”
The Commissioner restated the determination of the State Government to clear the accumulated pension arrears before the end of the year.
He assured that pensioners across the state would “soon hear good news from Government”.
“As a responsive and responsible government, this administration will keep to its promise. The Governor, Dr. Alex Otti, will keep to his promises of paying off all the outstanding pension arrears. In the coming days, we will be able to avail you information in that regard”.
On the ongoing expansion of Ossah Road Umuahia into a six-lane for a befitting entry and exit point to the State capital, Kanu assured that one of the lanes would be ready before Christmas.
The Commissioner also assured that one lane of the Aba Port Harcourt Expressway would be motorable from Aba to Obigbo Border Town before Christmas.
Declaring that road infrastructure “is central to the Alex Otti-led administration“, the Commissioner said that 27 roads had so far been reconstructed since Otti came on board.
He hinted that some of the newly rehabilitated roads, including Jubilee Road Aba (latest in the series), and others nearing completion, would soon be inaugurated.
Adding his voice, the Commissioner for Power and Public Utilities, Ikechukwu Monday, disclosed that the State Government had installed over 1,700 solar-powered street lights in Aba and Umuahia, in line with the Operation Light up Umuahia and Aba initiative.
This, according to him, will help reduce carbon dioxide emissions and serve as a step up to full renewable energy policy in the state.
“We started with Umuahia first, now we have moved to Aba. So, next year, we will be also moving to other communities. We want to make sure that every street and every village in Abia is lightened up. And we are replacing the conventional street lights with solar”.
He also disclosed a collaboration between the state and the Federal Ministry of Power to boost electricity distribution in the state.
“There is a project, which is a 132 KVA-Line that is supposed to run from Umuahia to Mbalano, from Mbalano to Okigwe. This project was awarded in 2001, and it was abandoned. So, this project, when executed, would have helped to improve the power supply within that axis.”
The Commissioner said that the project would recommence, adding that, another project of 120 KVA that also runs from Ohafia and Arochukwu will soon commence.
Special Adviser to the Governor on Media and Publicity, Mr Ferdinand Ekeoma, who was at the briefing, decried the recent cases of stealing of children in the state, vowing that those behind the dastardly act will be tracked.
He expressed Government’s sympathy with the affected families, but assured them that security agencies had been fully mobilised to go after the perpetrators.
On the Street Trading at Isigate axis of Umuahia, Ekeoma said the Government was intensifying the search for a better place to relocate the traders before coming out fully to stop the menace.
He faulted the relocation of Umuahia Daily Market to Ubani, where he said the traders had complained about its distance and other inconveniences.
The SA, however, said the Government would not continue to tolerate the defacing of the capital city on any excuse, but said an alternative market would be identified for the traders before applying force.
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