Reporter : CHRISTIAN NWANGENE
The Archbishop of Enugu Ecclesiastical Province, Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, the Most Reverend Emmanuel Chukwuma, has appealed to the Enugu State Government not to go ahead with its planned demolition of the National Youth Council Plaza, Kenyatta Market, Uwani, Enugu.
The appeal by the Archbishop followed quit notice issued to over seven hundred traders at the Plaza by the Enugu Capital Territory Development Authority, (ECTDA) to vacant the premises before 30th of December, 2020.
The plaza, which is housing dealers in electrical appliances, paints and five other commodities, was duly approved by relevant government authorities.
The Most Reverend Chukwuma, while addressing the traders, said if the government went ahead to demolish the Plaza without making a commiserate arrangements to relocate the traders to Ugwuaji, it would add to the economic hardship confronting the people.
The Archbishop urged the government to expand the Ugwuaji International Building Materials Market to accommodate the traders.
Hear the Archbishop:
“The State Government has to be patient, I’ve come around to see what is happening here, the shops are not enough for people to move. I mean, out of seven hundred, you have only two hundred spaces (in the International Market). so I’m appealing to the authority, through the Governor.
“So, asking them to move will bring a lot of hardship on them and with this economic situation, I think Enugu Capital Territory Development Authority should hold on and should not come here to demolish anything on the 30th, that’s my appeal.”
Speaking with journalists after a prayer rally, the Grand Patron, Electrical Dealers in Enugu State, and former Chairman, Kenyatta Market Traders Association, Chief Ezekiel Ezeuchu, also pleaded with the Governor, to give them more time to relocate to Ugwuaji.
“We are appealing to our amiable and God fearing Governor, the father who cares for his children and his agency, Enugu Capital Territory Development Authority, ECTDA, to please have mercy on us at this hard economic period,” Chief Ezeuchu pleaded.
Similarly, another former Chairman, Kenyatta Market Traders Association, Mr. Nelson Aniagu, said they were willing to relocate to Ugwuaji but lamented that the place could not accommodate more than seven hundred occupants of the complex.
“The building materials traders doing their business in National Youth Council Plaza Enugu agreed to extend their business to Ugwuaji International Building Materials Market, but the problem is that for over 700 people that applied for stalls at Ugwuaji International Building Materials Market, only less than 200 people were given stall, where will the remaining people go?
“If Enugu South Local Government can publish the names of those they allotted stalls to at Ugwuaji, you will find out that not up to 80 people from this Plaza were allotted stalls at Ugwuaji,” he complained.
Also, another Former Chairman, Kenyetta Market, Mr. Nicholas Eze, said the economic hardship brought upon them by the COVID-19 lockdown, the #ENDSARS protest, and prevailing economic recession were still biting hard on them and pleaded with government to show mercy on them.
“Let them give us a place that will accommodate the traders and allow us time to develop the place, God will bless them as they do this.
“If this plaza is sealed or demolished, where will the truck pushers, barrow pushers, transporters, labourers, artisans, traders that eat and take care of their families from this Plaza go to now considering the bad economic situation in the country?
” This Plaza is well designed with standard motor park, two major gates through Adelebu, and Amawbia street, standard toilets and convenience facilities with overhead tanks of water for easy business transactions.”
“Plaza has over 700 stalls and warehouses for different commercial activities and the development of this plaza to this present stage is more than N2.5 billion naira, we say, let the labour of our heroes past not be in vain,” Chief Eze prayed.
Efforts by Radio Nigeria to get the reactions of the Chairman, Enugu Capital Territory Development Authority (ECTDA), Mr. Josef Onoh, and the Chairman of Enugu South Local Government Area, Mr. Monday Eneh, to comment on the matter proved abortive as both of them did not pick calls nor respond to text messages sent across to their mobile lines.