File Photo: A Road In Aba, Abia State
*Wants Ministry of Trade and Industry domiciled in Aba*
In order to save indigenous industrialization and salvage the commercial hub of South East from imminent collapse due to natural and man-made disasters, the Nigerian Government has been asked to declare Aba city in Abia State as a disaster area and approach the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund for assistance through the granting of completely interest free credit facilities for the immediate facelift of this rapidly dying commercial city.
A pro-Democracy Non-governmental organization – Human Rights Writers Association Of Nigeria (HURIWA ) made the clarion call to President Muhammadu Buhari after its investigate team visited Aba in Abia State to assess the extent of infrastructural damage occasioned by floods and poor electricity power and the negative implications to the growth of small and medium scale industrialization.
They also canvassed the relocation of the headquarters of the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Trade and Industry to Aba in Abia State because of the obvious fact that the city houses the greatest percentage of local small and medium scale genuine manufacturers and investors.
Alternatively the Nigerian Government should set up a sub-regional office of the Federal Ministry of Trade and Industry with the full complement of a Federal Permanent Secretary heading the office.
Besides, HURIWA in a statement signed jointly by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media affairs Director Miss Zainab Yusuf has called on the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to visit Aba with a view to distributing immediate relief materials to thousands of traders that have so far lost their precious wares to floods and other natural disasters like erosion.
HURIWA stated that; ” from the benefit of hindsight and based on our evidenced based findings, we can state without equivocation that traders in some parts of Ariaria International are facing series of infrastructural and natural disasters occasioned by persistent floods and the degradation of road infrastructures.
“We can attest that the debilitating flooding that is ravaging the popular A –Line and the drug section of the market is a major commercial threats to the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of Nigerians.
“We learnt from credible sources and from verifiable eye witness accounts that indeed the past eight years have not been the best of times for traders in this part of the city”.
“From our discreet probe those who should know reliably informed us that in the year 2014 alone, patent medicine dealers at the drugs section of the market lost goods worth over N2 billion to the flood.
“The traders alleged that flooding of the area was aggravated by a building erected on a water way adjacent the market close to the portion of the State Fire service.
“This obstructive structure is reported to be owned by the son of a powerful former government official.
“The flooding, the traders said is further made worse by the deplorable nature of roads in the market and the Ukwu Mango area which the last administration in the state claimed to have rehabilitated but which cannot be verified”.
HURIWA also said a meeting of its management team would be convoked this Wednesday in Abuja to draft letters to President Muhammadu Buhari and copy to the Director General of National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and to the Federal Ministry of Trade and Industry in Abuja to draw the attention of the Nigerian State to the emergency situation of Aba in Abia State.
Also, to call for urgent but comprehensive remedial measures to arrest the decline and save hundreds of thousands of Nigerians from going out of their respective jobs as owners of small businesses.
By Emmanuel Onwubiko