*Says after 16 years, no single infrastructure at Enugu Int’l Trade Fair
By Francis Igata
ENUGU—The Enugu State Chamber of Commerce Industry, Mines and Agriculture, ECCIMA, yesterday, slammed the Federal Government over perceived marginalization of the South East geopolitical zone coming from over sixteen years of abandonment of the Enugu International Trade Fair.
The Federal Government had designated three states Lagos, Kaduna and Enugu to domicile international trade fairs which represents the three main ethnic groups of Yoruba, Hausa and Igbo in the country but that of Lagos and Kaduna States have been fully completed and functional.
Vanguard’s visit to the permanent site of Enugu International Trade Fair located along Enugu-Onitsha expressway road showed that apart from the perimeter fence erected before former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, laid the foundation stone ceremony in 2000, no single block has been brought to the site.
The prevailing situation has made the place a safe-haven for miscreants who hibernate there to plan their nefarious activities.
While lamenting Federal Government’s deliberate plan to stifle Ndigbo who are renowned for their entrepreneurial and commercial dexterity, the Director General, ECCIMA, Mr. Emeka Okereke, said: ”The inaction of the Federal Government towards the completion of the trade fair abandoned sixteen years ago suggests that it is a planned marginalization tactics.
“The Lagos International Trade Fair which was built as a facility developed for Festac 77 is up and running, although it transmuted to become the Lagos International Trade Fair complex. That of Kaduna was built in 1997 under six months to host the OAU trade fair then. But that of Enugu commenced in 1998. What we have in Enugu State is only a perimeter fence. No single work went on. The entire project was quickly abandoned as soon as the foundation stone laying ceremony was done.”
“The two other centre have been primed and fully developed. This is pure marginalisation. That of Enugu is begging for attention. We have consistently cried out,lobbied the National Assembly members for federal government to see reason. Successive governments have cried of paucity of funds even when there was oil boom. This thing started since sixteen years ago. No single contractor came there.
“We have seen that federal government is not willing to do the desirable by re-enacting what they did in Lagos and Kaduna States. We read this as marginalisation because there is no genuine effort to develop the place. The generic economic impact on the people of south-east geopolitical zone has been lost. This fair is designed to host annual fairs but rather,it will encourage Small Medium Enterprises, SMEs, which our people are notable for. This is a troublesome development”.