The All Progressives Congress (APC) in Plateau has lauded the state government efforts to reconstruct the burnt Jos Main Market for the economy benefit of the people and the state.
The Publicity Secretary of the party in the state, Mr Sylvanus Namang in a statement, said that the state government was working towards signing a memorandum of understanding with Jaiz Bank Nigeria Plc. According to him, the reconstruction of the market will cost the government N9.4 billion.
Namang lauded Gov. Simon Lalong led administration for the initiative, adding that it would significantly boost state economy when completed.
He further said that the market remained a cherished heritage of the people of Plateau.
The publicity secretary said that the main market remained strategic and accessible from all parts of the state, unlike the satellite markets.
“From available facts, all the satellite markets built at Kabong, Farin Gada, New Market and Katako, are less than 50 per cent occupied.
“This is so because, traders have moved to Terminus in Ahmadu Bello Way, Murtala Muhammed Way, and all adjoining streets to the burnt market, which has led to frequent gridlocks and environmental hazards.
“Traders operate in locations where they are better patronised and cannot be moved by fiat.
“However, to allay the fears of our people, the state government has sufficiently assured the people that the involvement of Jaiz Bank Nigeria Plc. is purely economic.
“The bank cannot because of its funding of the development of the market reconstruction islamise the state, as is being mischievously peddled by the opposition for selfish reasons,’’ he said.
Namang stated that the market would remain the property of the Plateau Government as Jaiz Bank Nigeria Plc. has no business whatsoever in managing it.
According to him, the much touted 40 years applies only to the allottees of the shops in the market who reside in Plateau, regardless of their faith or ethnicity.
“To those asking why embarking on the reconstruction late in the life of this administration which has only nine months to go, the APC wants them to know that government is a continuum.
“Moreover, the process and efforts towards rebuilding the market commenced in 2016 and not 2021. “Government only opened discussions with Jaiz Bank Nigeria Plc. in 2021 after previous disappointments by other prospective Investors,’’ he added.
He further stated that the rebuilding of the market would be carried out in three phases, and would not leave the state with any debt.
Namang pointed out that from every indication, the state government would not be putting down a dime in the project other than the land it would contribute as equity.
He advised those opposing the reconstruction for political reasons to have a rethink as posterity might not judge them kindly.
The Plateau government has inaugurated the construction of 844 housing units at Zanwra in Miango District of Bassa Local Government Area of the state for workers.
Speaking while performing the ground-breaking ceremony, Gov. Simon Lalong of the state described the housing unit as “a dividend of peace in the area”.
He said the project would bring succour to workers by enabling them to have access to modern affordable housing, with flexible payment system.
He commended Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) for prioritising access to affordable housing for civil servants, through its collaboration with the Federal Housing Authority and the Federal Mortgage Bank (FMB).
“Through the Workers Housing Estate, our civil servants will no longer have cause to worry about owning a house or renting accommodation since there is a mechanism for them to own one under very friendly terms,” he said.
He said the state government in collaboration with FMB has provided home renovation loans worth N2 billion to more than 2, 500 civil servants to assist them address housing challenges.
The governor said tha a committee headed by the Head Of Service had been constituted to establish the residential houses, offices, farms lands and all assets owned by the state.
“The committee will also advise government on which of the property could be given out on owner occupier and those to be redeveloped under public private partnership,” he said.
He urged the developer of the housing units to ensure compliance to development control standards, adding that the houses should be constructed according to approved plans to prevent building collapse.
In another development, the governor expressed concern on misinformation disseminated on social media, that the state government has ceded Jos Main Market to Jaiz Bank Nigeria Plc. through its proposed rebuilding contract.
“We are going into a partnership that will see the bank funding the rebuilding project 100 per cent and sharing the shops in a 40-60 per cent ratio for the purpose of lease only.
“The 40-year lease is for individuals that will buy the shops and not the bank.
“I appeal to our people not to pay attention to the propaganda and political exaggerations being peddled that the market will be sold out to an Islamic bank,” he said Earlier, in his remarks, the state Head of Service, Mr Stephen Hyat said “the housing unit occupies 40 hectares of land and will boost the wellbeing and productivity of workers”.
Hyat said that 2,956 workers were beneficiaries of the modern housing scheme by the government, which would improve the economy through ownership of land documents, which could serve as collateral to access loans for businesses.
In his remarks , the paramount ruler of Irigwe nation, Bra Ngwe Irigwe retired Rev. Ronku Akah, thanked the governor for implementing the housing unit in his chiefdom, saying it would expose the area to holistic development.
Also, the Chairman of NLC in Plateau, Mr Eugene Mangi, thanked Lalong for conceiving the housing unit and actualising it, saying, “26 attempts were made before to construct housing units for workers to no avail,” .
He thanked the governor for constructing access roads to the housing units, while expressing hope that the houses would be completed between 15 months and 18 months.
Speaking at the event, the partner for Drallop Services, the contractors for the housing units, Alhaji Suleiman Imani of Imani Property Do, Jos, said that more than 1,600 jobs would be created in the execution of the project.