The popular Abraka market, also called Hausa market Asaba, may become history in a few days time if the threat by the Delta State Capital Territory Development Agency to sack the market is anything to go by.
The Director General of the Agency, Honourable Onyemaechi Mrakpor, was on Friday said to have given the market three days to relocate to Oko junction, on the Onitsha – Benin highway, for bulldozers to roll in and bring down all structures there.
According to the Chairman of the market, Alhaji Bawa Abdullahi, the reasons given were that the market was dirty and too close to the highway, resulting in accidents, adding that it was alleged that the area was to be used by government for an undisclosed investment.
Bawa said the leadership of the market was ready to embark on a thorough clean up, noting that the pedestrian bridge being constructed across the highway was to ensure safety in the market, which had also been fenced out to ensure greater safety.
He, however, said the ultimatum was later extended to one week, but that the market union had opened talks with government to reconsider the sacking of the market, which currently provides business opportunities for over 20,000 traders from within and outside the country, and which has become the preferred destination for not only residents of the state capital territory, but also most Deltans and indeed Nigerians.
The Chairman explained that the market was a good investment for the state government as it provided over 30,000 direct and indirect jobs, saying that the proposed Oko junction was prone to flooding and would not be good for the market.
Bawa passionately appealed to the state government to let the market be as there had never been any issue with its location since it was established 14 years ago.
Also speaking, Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Non Indigenes Affairs, Alhaji Muktar Usman, said the market was dominated mostly by non indigenes from the northern part of the country, who had been peaceful and supportive of the state government in several ways.
He joined in appealing to government to reconsider its decision to sack the market as it would throw thousands of traders out of business.
Abraka market Asaba was started by Hausa traders who were chased out of Onitsha in 2006 following the incessant killing of Ibos in the north.
The market is reputed for the sale of yams, tomatoes, onions, beans, sugar cane, dried fish, meat and livestock among other items,
Attempts to get the Director General of the Delta State Capital Territory Development Agency, Honourable Onyemaechi Mrakpor, to speak on the issue were unsuccessful.