Emmanuel Ugwu-Nwogo in Umuahia
In a bid to boost economic activities in rural areas, the Abia State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (ASOPADEC) has commenced the reconstruction of rural markets in several communities.
The market expansion programme has led to the rejuvenation of dilapidated markets in several communities across the state with newly built open shops springing up and existing ones renovated to provide conducive environment for rural commerce to thrive.
Rural markets constitute the major centre of economic activities in rural areas and commercial activities are in some cases conducted in open spaces due to absence of shops or dilapidation of existing ones.
Chairman of ASOPADEC, Chief Samuel Nwogu, while inaugurating the newly constructed open shops at Aho Akawa market in Umunneochi local government, said it was in fulfilment of the agency’s mandate drive development in rural communities.
He said the new market henceforth, belongs to the community, which would have the full responsibility of its maintenance, adding that ASOPADEC would not interfere in the operations of the market.
Nwogu, who was accompanied the board members of ASOPADEC, said the agency was directed by Governor Ikpeazu to execute the developmental projects to improve the living standards of the rural areas, including non-oil producing communities.
President of Ubahu Development Union, Chief Don Ihionu, said the new market would not only improve commercial activities in the area but also enhance the physical outlook of the community.
He noted that ASOPADEC has consistently assisted in the development of the community by grading its roads annually to ease movement of vehicles in evacuation of agricultural produce.
At Amiyiobilohia in Isuikwuto local government, the Eke rural market was reconstructed and handed over to the community with the ASOPADEC boss urging the inhabitants to put the market to effective use.
Chairman of Isuikwuato local government, Chima Agbaeze, said the reconstructed market shops would now boost the morale of women, adding, “they can now trade even under the rain,” since the new shops provide adequate shelter for them.
A member of ASOPADEC board and former state legislator, Dr. Kate Maduako, who is from the area, recalled that she had always, “felt bad when I see our women sweating under the sun while trading” in the dilapidated market.
“I feel elated that the problem has now been solved,’ she enthused.
Speaking on behalf of women Mrs. Fidelia Mkpu expressed gratitude to ASOPADEC and to the state governor for rebuilding the Eke market where they make their livelihood in addition to farming.