The rebuilding of the controversial Eke Ukwu Owerri market in Imo State will be completed this year, the Special Adviser, Public Enlightenment, Prince Eze Ugochukwu has disclosed.
The demolition of the market by former Governor Rochas Okorocha administration drew nationwide and international condemnation, particularly, following the killing of a 10-year-old Somtochukwu Ibeanusi during the demolition exercise in August 2017.
An estimated N16billion worth of goods was also said to have been lost during the demolition exercise.
Upon assumption into office, the current governor, Hope Uzodinma promised to rebuild the market to over 2,000 stall capacity.
Ugochukwu said that with an initial estimated completion period of 18 months, the construction of the new Eke Ukwu Owerri has significantly advanced after a few months of mobilisation to the site by the contractors under a Public, Private Partnership arrangement.
He noted that upon completion and commencement of trading activities, the market will be a key factor and an important tool for the economic development of the state.
According to him, the new market layout consists of 1,728 units of retail Shops, 340 units of specialized shops, 72 warehouses, 12 cold rooms and 240 open stalls/lockup shops.
Other facilities in the market include four banks, a fire and police post, public toilet, water tank and an ATM gallery. He added that there will be an incinerator, a car park and open stalks.
“It is expected that in the next eight months the project will be completed,” Ugochukwu added.
The Eke Ukwu Owerri Market is the ancestral market of Owerri Indigenes.