As Call For Dialogue Failed
Reports reaching us indicate that the people of the old Amaraku ancient kingdom in Isiala Mbano Local government area of Imo State were in turmoil over the construction of Orie Amaraku International Market.
Investigations revealed that sometime in September 2017 the Community Market known as Orie Amaraku was totally demolished after it was partly demolished in June 2013 on the orders of Rochas Okorocha led administration as supervised by the then SSA, Okigwe Zone Mayoral Affairs, Hon. Simeon Iwunze.
The first phase of the demolition was in 2013 when Ichie Best Mbanaso was the Commissioner for Commerce and Industry. This made the occupants comprising mainly market women, artisans, okada riders and farmers engaged in different kinds of businesses in the demolished market. The majority of whom resorted to sell or hawk their wares in makeshift tents erected in and around the demolished market.
The issue of who undertakes the building and reconstruction of the market created acrimony among the leaders. Under the circumstances, “Amaraku Amaise” led by chief Alloy Odubam and other stakeholders met with the state government with a view to allowing the community to undertake the reconstruction of the traditional market.
It was learned that while the crisis lasted, one Mr. Peter Ibemere determined to ensure that peace reigned supreme as he continued to visit the leaders and stakeholders to sheath their swords but to see that government make haste to move engineers to the site and ensure that the market bounced back to modern form.
When governor Rochas Okorocha reappointed Ichie Best Uche Mbanaso as SA on Market Development in 2017, he was directed to undertake the remodeling of the Orie Amaraku to an International Standard.
Further investigation revealed that Ichie Best Mbanaso commenced the construction of the market with Mr. Peter Ibemere, the Managing Director of Hebrewman Company Limited and an indigene of the community, but non-mobilization of fund from the state government slowed the work on the site. The source for funds made Ichie Mbanaso brought Mr. Roland Uwakwem as the financier to be part of the project.
Trouble started when Mr. Peter Ibemere raised the alarm that Mr. Roland has dropped the original plan of the market and his failure to comply with the terms they agreed at the early stage with Ichie Mbanaso. We also gathered that the interest of certain individuals in the community has fueled the crisis rocking the community and the contractors.
A section of the community has accused Mr. Roland Orisakwe of building poor and substandard Market shops, adding that the poorly constructed structures were deathtrap to the prospective occupiers. He was also accused of removing the motor park and replaced it with warehouse structure which according to them was not in the original plan of the market.
The information available to us had it that the meeting held on Sunday 12th April 2020 at the palace of the traditional ruler of the Community His Royal Highness Eze J.C. Mbamara where the leaders, stakeholders, and youths of the community met with the contractors to find a lasting solution to the crisis ended in deadlock as no decision was reached.
When Mr. Peter Ibemere was contacted, he narrated that he was the contractor that designed the plan of the market from the beginning, adding that he laid the foundation part of the market. He averred that Mr. Roland came into the project when the project had long started but was cash trapped because according to him, the then government didn’t release the money to them. He said: “I started the project with Ichie Mbanaso because of our long-lasting relationship. Ichie Mbanaso told me to design the market building plan which I did. “We laid the foundation block and raised some part of the shops to a certain level. ” We work harmoniously and raised about 162 shops up to roofing level before Mr. Roland Orisakwe came. “And I make bold to say that we had an agreement which I want him to comply. I also want him to work according to the plan of the market by creating space for “park” to bring out the beauty of the market and allow me to build the area given to me which is not up to 10% of the total market”