The government of Abia State has intensified efforts towards the recovery of the second-largest market in Aba and the largest beverage, cosmetic and food items market in Eastern Nigeria, the Eziukwu Market (Cemetery Market).
The market located in the heart of Aba South Local Government Area, just between the Aba Crown Land and the Over-Rail neighbourhood was which was completed in the early 1980s.
Facts show that the market has suffered decades of neglect, as all major roads leading to it became dilapidated together with the residential neighbourhood of the majority of the traders, the Over-Rail, left in ruins and at the mercy of criminals and cultists.
New Telegraph went around Over-Rail and reports that Omuma Road and Cemetery Road, two out of the five major roads that ventilate commercial activities at the Market are receiving massive reconstruction.
With the recent flag-off of the reconstruction of Port Harcourt Road by Otti’s administration and the reconstruction of the Eziukwu Road by the immediate past administration, the only major road leading to the Eziukwu Market that is not receiving attention right now is the Ogbonnaya Road.
Speaking to the New Telegraph, Chief Maxwell Udeaja, a trader from Anambra State said that it baffles him how previous governments in Abia State allowed Over-Rail to decay without thinking of the negative consequences of such environmental neglect on the Eziukwu Market where the government collected a lot of revenue.
According to him, “When we finished our apprenticeship as youngmen in the 1980s, the majority of us made small money and came down to Over-Rail to become landlords. We chose the neighbourhood because of the proximity to our market there.
“It was because of the terrible neglect of Over-Rail by the government that forced some of us out to new neighbourhoods like Ogbor-Hill, Osisioma, Umuode, Umule, Umuojima, Umuogele and many other places like Umuafor inside Obingwa Local Government Area.
“I want to tell you that after Aba Metropolis, the next centre of development is here and the Ndiegoro neighbourhood. If God has decided to use Alex Otti to recover Over-Rail and restore the glory of Eziukwu Market, I am grateful.”
Another trader, Mr Peter Onyeji from Imo State, said he has been in Aba for over 30 years and stressed that the recovery of Over-Rail will restore a whole lot, especially in the area of commercial activities and Real Estate.
“This cemetery road you’re looking at connects the Eziukwu Market to Port Harcourt Road and straight to Ngwa Road Market (Ahia-Ohuru), straight to the Good Morning Market along Orji Uzor-Kalu Bridge and straight to Emelogu and Opobo Road that connects to Akwa-Ibom State where the majority of our customers come from.
“Not only that, it equally connects Omuma Road that connects straight to Ariaria through Old Express Road. The Same Cemetery Road connects Osusu Road and Okigwe Road through Akalanna Street. The last time the road was touched was around 2001 when Orji Uzor-Kalu was Governor.
“The reconstruction of this road is a total recovery of Over-Rail because it’s the second Major Road in Over-Rail, after Omuma Road and no place in Aba can boast of hosting more traders as a neighbourhood than Over-Rail.
“Look around you, see mansions abandoned because of bad roads. We’re hopeful again because people will be encouraged to renovate their buildings and make money from it. So many people left for theirs because you don’t renovate houses for rodents,” Onyeji said.
Mr Lawrence Ezenagu, a trader from Orlu, Imo State while adding his voice called on Governor Otti to equally remember adjoining major roads within Over-Rail like Adindu Road, Powerline, St. Eugene Road and Amaukwu Road.
“I’m very happy. We’ve been seeing his handwork around the Osisioma area where he recently reconstructed Udeagbala Road, Umuimo Road, Shalom and College Road.
“It’s beautiful to see that he has remembered our neighbourhood, Over-Rail with works within Omuma and Cemetery Road here.
“I’ll equally beg him to remember Adindu Road because the drainage for that road was done many years ago z but was suddenly abandoned. Powerline is another important road that connects Ariaria with Eziukwu Market directly.
“Another one is St. Eugene Road which connects Omuma Road and Osusu Road. It’s a very important Road. If these roads are made alive again, everybody will enjoy Aba.”