Traders at Ogbaru Main Market, near Onitsha, Anambra State, said they have decided to checkmate flooding, bemoaning the devastating erosion that destroyed their stalls and warehouses numbered over fifty.
Addressing newsmen yesterday at the scene of the collapsed Sakamori bridge, the President-General of the Market, Mr. Ndubuisi Ochiogu said they have begun to use sand slabs to checkmate erosion at the collapsed Sakamori bridge.
He said that more than one thousand bags of sand slabs had been heaped at the collapsed portion of the Sakamori bridge as their little way to control the erosion until Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA) and state government intervention.
Ochiogu said, “This problem we are facing began since 2022. When we noticed that one portion of this Sakamori bridge has developed a fault, I quickly informed Federal Emergency Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA) and State Government but unfortunately when FERMA came to fix they damaged the portion. I was illegally removed by erstwhile Commissioner for Trade, Commerce and Industry, Dr. Obinna Ngonadi.
“So, I was not there to direct them on how they would fix it and people who were there also failed to direct them because they didn’t know the extent of the damaged portion of the Sakamori and that was why (FERMA) was not able to fix the Sakamori perfectly. Since then, it has continued to degenerate up to this level.
“If I were there and directed FERMA on what to do, we would not have landed into this mess. Invariably, government is also losing because these affected shops by erosion are owned by potential traders who are paying revenue to the government.”
Ochiogu further bemoaned the fact that traders had spent a lot of money in order to control the effects of the flooding at the area, but all their efforts couldn’t bear fruit as more than 50 shops already have been destroyed.
“We have even summoned meetings with Anambra State Chief of Staff, Mr. Ernest Ezeajughi and others at the office of State Secretary General (SSG) because of this issue. So, we have intimated relevant authorities, but they said they would come but we are still calling them once again to assist us.”
Also speaking, one of the Market Patrons and Supervisor of Work, Mr. Anthony Achisi affirmed that the leadership of the Market had written letters to (FERMA), state government and others, saying that they promised to come to fix the Sakamori but none has come. Similarly, the Vice Secretary of the market group, Mr. Bukuno Agu, described the erosion caused by the collapsed Sakamori as alarming, commending the leadership of the union for his marvellous role.