Journalism of Courage

I want to rebuild Jos market to pay new minimum wage– Lalong  

The Governor of Plateau State, Simon Lalong has disclosed that he wants to rebuild burnt Jos Terminus Market in order to generate enough revenue to pay the new minimum wage.

” The market was our main source of revenue and I saw it as very necessary to rebuild the main market in other to address the challenges of the state including that of minimum wage, he said after a closed door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

This is even as he has described as unfair, the report that his administration has budgeted N1.1 billion to demolish the market in the 2019 appropriation.

“The report is not very fair. If you understand the history of the Jos Main Market, you will understand passion for rebuilding that market.  That market was blown off over years ago and has remained like that. 

“What somebody saw was the presentation before the budget committee and when he saw N1.1 billion, he said it is for demolition. N1.1 billion cannot be for demolition. There are four components of demolition and reconstruction of the market. The person saw one aspect and jumped into conclusion. 

“I just got back from London this morning and I also read the report and I was worried. I called to ask what happened and I was told that he saw an aspect of the budget presentation and he said it was for demolition of the market.

“The entire process has four components, first it has to be a special demolition and you know in special demolition, you don’t bring down the entire market. We have two proposals, either to bring down the entire market and start building new one or carry out the special demolition and reconstruction and the overhaul of the market. There is the technical aspect, the consultancy aspect and the contract itself. 

“So, I have asked them to make everything public so that people will not jump into conclusion that we are demolishing the market. It is not everyone that can do that type of special demolition, in Nigeria it has only been done either twice or thrice. I had to travel to South Africa to ensure that if we are going to carry out the demolition, it must be a very special demolition. Otherwise, the next option was to bring down the entire market and start rebuilding. The sum of N1 billion can build a new market. 

“The report is wrong and whoever is behind it should get the true facts and he will see that the entire N1.1 billion is not for demolition but for other aspects of the contract including technical, consultancy and the commencement of the rebuilding of that market.”

Asked if more money was going to be budgeted for the actual rebuilding of the market, the governor said, “first, we are starting with the demolition before we move to other things. Without technical drawing you will not understand what I am saying. If you have seen Jos main market, it is a choked up area and if you have to rebuild you must put security outpost there, even the parking space has to be changed. 

“But, I have had to face serious opposition as regards that market because good things don’t come easy. You don’t get gold on the surface, you must dig. That is why I said, during my time I must rebuild the market. Plateau people know that whatever I say I will do, I always do it.”

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