The N9.4bn Jos Main Market reconstruction project launched by Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State has suffered a setback.
The new development took place against the backdrop of rejection of the project by the Plateau State natives living in the United States (US).
The group, under the auspices of the Plateau State Association USA, Inc. (PSA-USA, Inc) while opposing the project in a letter dated August 15 to the governor, said “the project is untimely, considering that the current state government is in its twilight years.
A copy of the letter was made available to Blueprint by the association’s national president, Dr. Barth Shepkong. It was titled: “Demand an immediate halt to the project to rebuild the main market in Jos”.
The letter reads in part: “We, the members of Plateau State Association, USA, Inc (PSA USA), are writing to express our position on the proposed Jos Main Market reconstruction project.
“We understand that the Plateau State Government, through the Commissioner for Trade and Industry and Chief Executive, Jos Main Market Authority, has entered into a purported Joint Venture Partnership Agreement with Jaiz Bank Nigeria Pic for the reconstruction of the main market of Jos.
“The project is specifically for the construction of 4,231 stores in the main market at an estimated cost of nine billion four hundred twelve million one hundred and sixty six thousand naira (9,412,166,000.00) only.,” they said.
According to the group, it is not news that an overwhelming majority of the population of the Plateau opposes this proposed project.
“Therefore, we wish to add our dissenting voices to those of our people.
“We oppose and categorically reject this project as it conflicts with the interests of the people of Plateau State.
“Furthermore, given that the current state government is in its twilight years, we believe the project is ill-timed.
“Why is the government embarking on such a monumental project at this time? Why does the government seem in such a hurry?
“Is this the only deal on the table to rebuild the main market? Have other options been explored? If so, what were the responses? asked the group.
PSA-USA said its position was that prior to the state government’s engagement with Jaiz Bank, thorough and comprehensive consultations with the people of Plateau State had not been conducted.
The group therefore called on the state government to immediately cancel the project and all other such projects requiring huge capital and to focus on ongoing and unfinished projects that would better serve the people of the state of Plateau.
“The Jos main market reconstruction project should be left to the next administration rather than the last minute rush envisaged by the outgoing government.
“Finally, we would like to inform the Plateau State Government that PSA and other Plateau States
the natives of the diaspora have the human capital and the financial muscle to help the State to execute
the Jos Main Market Reconstruction Project and other capital-intensive projects at the appropriate time.
“We welcome the opportunity to work with the next administration to ensure that projects are launched, in
in accordance with the wishes and aspirations of the people of Plateau State,” the group concluded.
It will be remembered that there was palpable tension in Jos and its surroundings following the announcement of Governor Lalong’s plan to rebuild the market, burnt down in 2002, via Jaiz Bank.