NO fewer than 1000 stalls have been marked for demolition at the popular Ochanja market in the commercial city of Onitsha for sitting on the drainage channels.
The Anambra State Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Dr Obinna Ngonadi announced the planned demolition after going round the market.
The Commissioner embarked on the tour in the company of the chairman of the State Physical Planning Board, Mr Chike Maduekwe.
Speaking during visit, Ngonadi said the state government would no longer tolerate indiscriminate erection of structures in market spaces without approval from the relevant authorities.
According to him, the state government has directed that market executives or developers planning to erect any structure inside the market should first obtain a letter of recommendation from the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, before proceeding for approval from the State Physical Planning Board.
The Commissioner frowned at the ugly situation whereby some structures in Ochanja market still under construction were already on the verge of collapse, even as traders have fully occupied the stalls, thus posing as threat to the lives of both the traders and buyers.
Ngonadi recalled a similar situation where a badly constructed market building in Ochanja collapsed and killed some traders while many others sustained varying degrees of injuries, insisting that such structures must be demolished.
“The lives of the citizens of Ndi Anambra mean a lot to our governor, Professor Chukwuma Soludo, and we must make things right”, the Commissioner said.
Also speaking, the chairman of the State Physical Planning Board, Mr Chike Maduekwe said that Anambra State Materials Testing Laboratory would be invited to test the structural integrity of all the stalls marked for demolition.
According to him, those that pass the test would go for approval and guidelines for amendment, while those that failed would go down.
“As you can see, when we were walking around the market, many traders were complaining and showing us parts of the building blocks that are falling on them as they lose and detach from building walls” he added.