Umuahia - Abia government has demolished the Umuahia main market that was built at the city centre during the colonial era.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) learnt that the market was built in 1935. In an effort to decongest the city centre, the state government constructed a new market at Ubani Ibeku, near Umuahia.
Traders were given up to October 19 to relocate to the new market, although a cross-section of the traders complained that the market was not yet ready for business. The old market was formally closed on Oct.ober 21 by the Market Relocation Committee, while its demolition commenced on Saturday.
The Chairman of the committee, Chief Ebenezer Offor, who was seen supervising the demolition on Monday, told NAN that "work is in progress". Offor expressed happiness that Governor Theodore Orji had finally "broken the jinx", saying that previous administrations attempted to remove the market from the city centre without success.
"Many prominent Abia indigenes at home and abroad have been sending me text messages thanking God and the governor for this great achievement," he said.
He said that the area had been cordoned off by men of the state vigilance service to avert loss of lives. An unidentified bus driver, who went into the market on Sunday to pull out an iron rod during the demolition, lost his life, when the wall of the market collapsed on him.
Meanwhile, scores of traders who were yet to be allotted shops at Ubani Ibeku, still besiege the secretariat of the committee, while trading activities are gradually picking up at the new market.