The MD/CEO of Blessed Henkel International Company Ltd. Engineer Henry Okoroafor has cleared the air on the rising speculation that the new A Line Ariaria market, Aba is a government project.
He stated this during an interview with newsmen at the edifice newly erected by him and his partners.
Okoroafor stated that the project is a Private Public Partnership (PPP), meaning that individuals can partner with them to achieve the dream of making Aba the Dubai of Nigeria and also a city that will be better than the entire cities of Lagos and Abuja.
He stated that the project which kicked off on October 2021 with a demolition of the former dilapidated shops in Ariaria which at first raised dust amongst business people and shop owners at the area was done for the purpose of remodeling Aba with ideas he got from China to be able to make ABA an enviable City like Lagos and Abuja where healthy competition thrives.
On this note, he stated that the government has no financial partnership with them yet towards the project but they are in partnership with their Chinese team who solely fund each project handled by his company.
He maintained that the idea is to develop Aba within the next 5 years, build the entire city of about within 7 years and maintain it for 20 years why they recover their fund by taxing each household in ABA dependent on the agreement that would be reached with the government.
On the other hand, the land is on lease to them for 10 years which they renew annually
However he stated that the government assisted his company to get a loan of 1.5 billion naira which they are currently paying back he maintained that the challenge they had was the minor misunderstanding with the past administration in signing the mou which delayed the project and also led to the withdrawal of their Chinese team which prompted them to source for funds.
Clearing the speculation as to whether traders were compensated due to the demolition, he asserted that they was some sorts of compensation, adding that virtually the current price of the new shops is equivalent to the old price.
While he stated that existing owners are to pay the sum of 5 million Naira for each shop while new owners pay 6 million Naira anywhere in the building and that the existing owners have the right to sell their shop if they are unable to buy hence they have their allocation paper to new customers.
Speaking further, Okoroafor expressed dissatisfaction towards the kick against a loan drive offer by some traders given by UBA to provide 10b naira to assist the traders who are unable to pay so they can buy and pay within 3 years.
In terms of payment, there is an arrangement between the company and a mortgage bank which was not disclosed to newsmen whereby a trader can deposit 2 million Naira on installment to pay off later.
He maintained that before the demolition, the market has about 3,600 shops why after demolition there are 4, 200 shops ready for use, meaning they are building more than they demolished within the space of 3 years.
The shops which were built on 12 feet foundation have convenience, 10 hours power supply, elevators for easy trading and evacuation in case of emergency, fireproof doors, computerized security doors, concrete deck walls that can prevent fire outbreak from crossing over to other shops in case of inferno, the shops are also connected together meaning from one building you can go to the other building and it is elevated more than other areas to help manage flood. He also added that his company is manning the security activity for now.
Traders and their customers expressed great gratitude to Henry Okoroafor for initiating the plan of developing Aba, stating that this is indeed the Dubai of Nigeria which has never been seen before in the history of ABA and urge everyone to give him maximum cooperation.