Anambra market construction halted as APGA officials engage in power tussle

BY RAYMOND OZOJI, Awka

Workers on site, market women and observers were stunned to witness a tussle reminicent of opposition political bickering rather than that of officials from the same party – the rulling All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), as the recently appointed Transition Chairman of Njikoka Local Governmen Area, Barrister Chinedu Ononiba on his first official day in office on July 5, 2024 issued a military fiat stop work order at two major markets at Nkwó Enugwu-Ukwu and Oye Agu Abagana markets.

Enforcers of the TC Chairman arrived Nkwo Enugwu-Ukwu and Oye-Agu Abagana in gangster style, forced their way-in, pasting letter dated 4/7/2024 and titled: “STOPPAGE OF WORK AT MARKETS IN NJIKOKA LGA,” to the consternation of onlookers.

Investigations by our correspondent showed that the market reconstruction was initiated by the immediate past Chairman of Njikoka, Ambassador Clem Aguiyi as a whole private sector sponsored projects on Build and Transfer basis with no single financial input by the government of Anambra State.

The Nkwo Enugwu-Ukwu is a traditional market owned by Enugwu-Ukwu community and managed by the Enugwu-Ukwu Traditional council, now reconstructed to over 200 shops;
while the Oye Agu market is owned by Amaenye Village Abagana but concessioned to the government based on a 1979 agreement, renewed in 2003 at the ratio of 40% development commitment by the community and 60% by the government. There are currently about 600-900 new shops in the market.

Reacting to the sudden turn of events at Oye-Agu, Abagana, Chief Obed Nweke, a developer said that the order already cost him 20 bags of cement mixed to complete work on site. “I am from Amaenye and I can tell you that we have completed our part of the agreement.

Infact this project is over 80% complete and what is remaining is the work of private builders. Our village is ready to begin sharing revenue as agreed, I don’t know the meaning of this disgrace and open fight by this Soludo government people,” He said.

The situation is equally perplexing at Nkwo Enugwu-Ukwu where a Supervisor who simply identified himself as Nwike, confirmed that the project is 99% completed. “In Fact, we are ready to begin allocation of the ground floor shops to original owners free as agreed. While the upstairs will be sold by the sponsors to recover their investment. I don’t understand this rofo-rofo fight o.”

The new Transition Chairman, Barrister Ononiba had reportedly shown his hands when he personally moved to stop ongoing development of shops on June 29, 2024 even before being sworn into office thus creating anxiety among private developers of the markets.

A politician, Mr Chudi Muo, lamented the level in-fighting by government officials. ” We thought that this Soludo government will be different. When you see this big sign board with Soludo picture, you may think he built the markets. He didn’t put kobo. Now his new appointees are coming to fight over our market and money. Let us see how they will get it. I am sure the fight is over money, and nothing more.”

As the story is still developing, attempts by our Correspondent to get the views of Amb Clem Aguiyi proved abortive as he is not picking his calls. Even the new Transition Chairman has not offered any official explanation for his actions. Maybe only Soludo can save the situation and stop the developing macabre dance in Njikoka markets.

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