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Ending Street trading in Owerri excites traders


The current move by the Imo State Environmental Transformation Commission (ENTRACO) led by its General Manager, Hon Ebere MacDonald to relocate street traders in Owerri metropolis to Imo modern International market at Naza has been described as a round peg in a round hole.Recall that the state House of Assembly had recently passed into law, a bill prohibiting street trading in Owerri metropolis. This development is to bring sanity in the metropolis in the capital city, reduce to the bearest minimum incidences of motor accidents, stealings, robberies and burglaries that are associated with street trading in Owerri. This is also to make street traders themselves to move to Imo International Modern market at Naza, which is popularly known as Alaba market.

The bill past into law and the subsequent drive by ENTRACO to ensure that street traders themselves are in the best professional manner moved to Alaba market at Naza for seamless and stress free trading at the market which has over 7,500 shops have been receiving commendations from well meaning people of the state, including the street traders themselves.

Investigation revealed that street traders at Tetlow, Douglas, Rotobi, Njemanze, Mbaise Roads and other streets in the metropolis are in high spirits and excited that they will be moved to Alaba market where they will have comfort in trading and own shops to themselves.

It is important to note that Alaba market was initiated by the administration of Rochas Okorocha as an alternative to Ekeonunwa market which the administration demolished. Currently Alaba market has no fewer than 7500 shops and only about 1500 shop are occupied by traders. This means that not less than 6000 shops are yet to be occupied by traders. This means that the street traders won’t have problem of shop spaces moving into the Alaba market.

It is imperative to note that Alaba international market, Naza, was conceived in 2012 and its groundbreaking ceremony was done by chief Jude Agbaso, a former deputy governor of the state and its construction started in 2013. The location, architectural designs, facilities in the market make it the best market in South East, South South zones of the and if the state government can assist the investors in constructing the road leading to the market will further add more value to the economy of the state.

Between 2013 and now, investors had invested no fewer than N11b in raising the standards in terms of security, constructions, settling with the host community and increasing its features in making buying and selling at the market worth it.

Apart from the alluring features earlier enunciated, the market also has motor parking spaces that can contain over 10,000 cars. The economic importance of the market cannot be overemphasized as the market currently is feeding over 10,000 families and has no fewer than youths from the host community and other communities numbering over 6,000 feeding from the market. That market when fully operational and occupied will be feeding over 30,000 peoples. Unarguably, this is the biggest and highest you can get in revenue generation for any state.

Divided into three sessions, General goods, automobile spare paths and Electrical and electronics, Alaba market at Naza is the ideal destination for street traders now that the state government through the state house of Assembly had prohibited street trading in the Owerri metropolis. Good enough that the street traders themselves and the regulating agency which is ENTRACO had agreed that Alaba market at Naza is ideal destination for trading for the street traders who have agreed to move into the well built market with the state of art facilities.

The GM of ENTRACO, MacDonald Ebere who is an indigene of Owerri municipal is the best person to enforce this evacuation of street traders from the metropolis to the Alaba market at Naza. There is no better person to develop a place than an indigene because east or west, home is the best.The sentiment that as an indigene of Owerri municipal, he won’t move the street traders or it is bad for him to move street traders at his community to the Alaba market at Naza should not arise. The ENTRACO GM as an averred apostle of the shared prosperity administration of governor Hope Uzodinma is bonded by patriotism to professionally carry out a government policy .

MacDonald Ebere has got all it takes to diligently evacuate street traders to the Alaba market at Naza. As an indigene of Owerri municipal, he understands the hazards that are associated with street trading at the metropolis. He understands the level of criminal activities that are going on in the metropolis because of this street trading in the metropolis. He also knows the level of intimidation these street traders are going through in the hands of touts who call themselves indigenes. What about the Stress, the discomfort the traders are passing through trading at the most hazardous environments?, the ENTRACO GM knows them all. Do we account the number of lives that had been lost owing to street trading in Owerri metropolis?.

At Alaba market at Naza shops are very affordable unlike what the traders are subjected to being on the road sides. A shop at Alaba market at Naza costs between N2m and N1.5m for outright buy and N100,000 and N60,000 per annum for rent. This is the cheapest you can get in all parts of Owerri and the zone.is it not baffling that with the hazards that are associated with street trading in Owerri, the traders pay between N300,000 to N500,000 for little shop spaces? .

So, the new law which ENTRACO GM is implementing is also going to help the traders not to be extorted by people who own this illegal structures in form of shops.Going forward, the traders should encourage few of them who are yet to understand the numerous benefits associated with this policy that apart saving their lives, this policy will also boast their economy by making them pay less for shop spaces, have comfort why trading and selling more.

The vision of the Okorocha administration should be applauded for approving the building of this market as the alternative for the demolished Eke Onunwa market.The current government should improve on the gains achieved on the market by the Okorocha administration by building roads there and beaming its searchlight on the market for its rapid development. Not doing that will scare away investors who would want to invest in the economy of the state. Already investors who partnered with the Okorocha’s administration in establishing that world class market in size and facilities had expended over N11b on it.No investor would be happy seeing his investment going down the drains because of government’s inability to formulate policies that will boast the economy.

Governor Hope Uzodinma is an answered prayer as long as the development of Alaba market at Naza is concerned. He is also committed to the health, welfare and lives of the traders are concerned. It takes a governor who values the lives of his people to come with policies that will guarantee their safeties and also increase their income earning.

Giving ENTRACO the mandate to ensure the smooth relocation of the street traders in Owerri metropolis to the more conducive, secured, spacious, organized and developed Alaba is thoughtful of the governor. Appointing MacDonald Ebere who is cool headed to champion this evacuation drive shows that the governor has a human face.There were people the governor would have appointed in that capacity and by now, their brutality would have caused huge embarrassment for the government.

As educated and civilized MacDonald Ebere is, he started with public enlightenment program, telling the street traders that the government had prohibited street trading through a law enacted by the state house of Assembly. He also informed them that the state government had provided an alternative market which is Alaba market at Naza. Engaging other stakeholders in passing this information is crucial. No street trader will say that he or she hadn’t heard about the relocation decision by the state government. Also using mass media platforms in the dissemination of this information to the street traders and by extension the people of the state is commendable. This is a total departure from what we used to see where past ENTRACO GMs engaged the services of touts in the passage of information of government policies to the members of the public.

The professionalism, tact and human face MacDonald Ebere had brought to bear in the running of ENTRACO affairs and the approaches adopted by the agency in the relocation project are right steps in the right directions. No wonder the affected street traders had keyed into the vision immediately.

On assumption of office, the governor had promised that he was going to run a people oriented government. This entailed that he was going to administer a government administration that will make the interest of the people Paramount. A government that won’t use force and brut against the people. A government that will think inwards and initiate policies that guarantee the welfare of the people, add value to the economy and boast the state’s Internally Generated Revenue. This is a government that is good.

To the traders who are eager to move to their permanent trading place which is Alaba market at Naza, it is expected that they will encourage the few renegades among them to see that the government meant well for them.staying in a spacious shop with all the facilities that encourage smooth trading is better than one risking his life on the road in the name of trading.

As the traders by Monday move to the Alaba market at Naza for seamless and stress free trading, the state governor should be applauded for having a golden heart to support trading in the state by initiating people oriented programs. The lawmakers at the state house of Assembly should be commended for speedily passing into law, the bill prohibiting street trading in Owerri metropolis. ENTRACO, especially its General Manager, MacDonald Ebere, should be applauded for using human face in the relocation project.The street traders themselves should be applauded for seeing that government meant well for them and they are ready to move to the Alaba market at Naza for seamless and stress free trading henceforth.

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