The Abia State Government has established an inter-ministerial task force on illegal motor parks and street trading to oversee the maintenance of order around the Osisioma Interchange (Flyover) and its environs, to sanitise the area and restore it to a status befitting a major entry point to Aba’s commercial city.
The Commissioner for Trade and Investment, Chief John Okiyi Kalu, and his Transport counterpart, Hon Chief Godswill Uche Nwanoruo, said the task force was formed in response to a directive from the Governor, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, to clear the area of illegal trading and vehicular activities that were causing damage to the newly constructed interchange.
Chief Okiyi said members of the task force were carefully profiled and selected based on their pedigree and urged them to see their appointments as a call to duty to serve their state nay the people.
He said the goal is to ensure that the Osisioma Flyover up to the Express Road junction axis of Ariaria International Market is not converted into a motor park or market area.
“As a task force, you must ensure that no street trading takes place within that area; we must end the practice where our roads are taken over by street traders and converted to illegal motor parks by individuals and commercial drivers. The task force has the responsibility of cleaning up the area, ensuring that nobody trades on roads or parks their vehicles illegally. This assignment must be taken seriously as the Governor has directed that you ensure total success with zero tolerance for failure”.
He also ordered them to wear their identification cards and vests at all times during work hours and to complete their tasks even after normal working hours to guarantee that drivers and traders do not take advantage of their absence to take over the area in the evenings.
“We have many markets in Aba where our people can safely do business instead of risking their lives and means of livelihood in open and illegal places. For all-around effectiveness, we will extend this task to other areas of Aba and Umuahia to have our cities sanitised”.
Commissioner for Transport, Chief Nwanoruo, stated that all transport parks in the vicinity of the affected axis have been closed, and asked transport operators to utilise only state-approved parks.
He said, “the Governor has approved the closure of all the parks around Osisioma flyover up to Ariara junction. We are going to ensure that no vehicle stops to drop off or pick up passengers along that axis. We will provide the necessary support you need, including security agents to ensure that everyone complies with the order without exception and you must ensure that you do your work without extorting money from traders or transporters as any of you caught doing so will not only be replaced but duly prosecuted.”
The Task Force’s chairman Chief Amanna Nwaogu responded by thanking the governor for the opportunity to serve the state and promised to guarantee that the government’s directions are followed without bias.
The Permanent Secretary Ministry of Trade and Investment, Chief Sir Michael Egwu, Director of Commerce, Elder Udensi, Director of Transport, Chief B.T. Oleka and other top management employees from both ministries were in attendance for the inauguration.