The Abia State House of Assembly has summoned the state’s Commissioner for Trade and Investment, Dr Cosmos Ndukwe and the Chairman of Ekeoha Shopping Centre, Mr Friday Dimiri to appear before it over allegations made against them by some traders.
The House, in a summon read by the Chief Whip, also ordered the concerned traders who wrote the petition against the duo to appear before it.
The traders led by Oriaku Ugochukwu, James Eze, Jona Enyaogu and Chukwueke Nwikocha, through their lawyer, Mr Victor Nwaugo, had petitioned the state House of Assembly, calling for the its intervention in their alleged plight in the hands of the ministry and the market Chairman.
In their Save-Our-Soul call, the concerned traders cried out that the state Ministry of Trade and Investment, in connivance with the Ekeoha Shopping Centre Chairman, Dimiri built substandard stalls in the market and imposed N8,000 per stall, N3,000 higher than the previous N5,000 paid by the traders.
They also alleged that they were disconnected from an independent power plant station. The concerned traders equally added that collapsing of buildings as a result of poor structures had become a daily occurrence, even as the ministry and market chairman built gates on the entrance and exit routes of the shopping centre.
They capped their petition by informing the Abia State House of Assembly that the Ministry of Trade and Investment promised to remit 10℅ revenue realized from the 8,000 levies to them for market maintenance, a promise the concerned traders claimed, had not been fulﬁlled.
Meanwhile, eﬀorts by our correspondents to get across to the Commissioner Dr Cosmos Ndukwe for his own side of the story proved abortive as he was not met in his oﬃce at 4th ﬂoor of the State secretariat, government station layout, Umuahia when our reporter visited. Also the Public Relations Oﬃcer of the ministry, identiﬁed simply as Mr Ndubuisi was also not met in his oﬃce for comment. However, the Chairman of Ekeoha Shopping Centre, Mr Friday Dimiri conﬁrmed the building of some new structures in the market, but denied that they were poorly constructed. He posited that the structures were constructed by an astute building engineer who delivered a quality job.
Dimiri explained that “the structures added on top of stalls were duly supported with strong quality pillars by the engineer. He further denied that gates were constructed on the entrance and exit ends of the market as alleged by the traders.
On the allegation of disconnecting the traders from electricity, the market Chairman faulted the accusation, pointing out that ” the traders only pay N200 for independent power and that only those who were not interested still make use of generators.”