Abia State government yesterday warned the traditional ruler of Ohazu Ancient Kingdom and Ngwa Road Market Traders Association chairman to stop attacks on contractors reconstructing Ngwa Road or be punished. The palace of the traditional ruler of Ohazu Ancient Kingdom, Eze Sunday Emejiaka, is opposite the market whose association is chaired by Elder Chijindu Ojogho. People said to be members of Ohazu Ancient Kingdom reportedly attacked the contractors working on the expansion of the road. Ngwa Road, one of the abandoned roads in Aba metropolis, has been a nightmare to residents and traders until recently when reconstruction work began there.
The hoodlums injured some of the contractors and chased them out of a construction site on Ngwa Road which is close to Ngwa Road Market (Ahia-Ohuru). Government’s warning is contained in statement issued by the Information Commissioner, Chief John Okiyi-Kalu. The commissioner said the attention of government had been drawn to the disruption of ongoing reconstruction of Ngwa Road, Aba, by people suspected to be traders and other community actors. He said: “Governor Okezie Ikpeazu has directed the leadership of Ngwa Road Market Traders Association (NGWAMATA) and the traditional ruler of the area to ensure that the attacks and harassment on contractors cease forthwith. “Or they would risk sanctions including closure of the market till the work is completed and suspension of any traditional ruler found complicit in the attacks.”
Okiyi-Kalu urged the contractor, Heartland Construction Company, handling the road, to deploy fully to the site to meet agreed timeline with the government before the full onset of rains. He said that steps had been taken to ensure the safety and security of the contractors on the road. The Chairman of the traders’ association, Ojogho, said that the solution to the problem “lies in the palace of the traditional ruler of Ohazu Ancient Kingdom”. He said: “I am tired of this problem. People should stop calling me because of the attacks were not done by NGWAMATA members but by persons from the traditional ruler’s community.” But when contacted, Emejiaka said he was at an event and that our correspondent should call back later. However, the monarch neither picked his calls nor responded to a text message sent to him on the issue later. Residents condemned the attack on the contractors.
One of the residents, Onyekachi Wogu, said those who attacked the contractors had, over the years, been collecting money from traders selling goods on top of rubbish and refuse. “Their wish is that the road will remain bad so that their business will continue. “They’re aware that immediately this road becomes motorable they will have to look for another job. “Traders who move out to the road to sell because customers can’t access their shops will return to the shops,” Wogu said.