The Jos Main Market N9.4bn rebuilding project embarked upon by Gov. Simon Lalong of Plateau State has suffered a setback.
The new development was against the backdrop of the project’s rejection by Plateau State Indigenes living in the United States (U.S.).
The group, under the auspices of the Plateau State Association USA, Inc. (PSA-USA, Inc) while kicking against the project in a letter dated Aug.15 and addressed to the governor, said “the project is ill-timed, considering that the current state government is in its twilight.”
A copy of the letter was made available to Blueprint by the association’s National President, Dr Barth Shepkong. It was titled: “Demand to Immediately Terminate the Jos Main Market Rebuilding Project.”
The letter reads partly: “We, the members of Plateau State Association, USA, Inc (PSA USA), write to state our position on the proposed rebuilding project of the Jos Main Market.
“It is our understanding that the Plateau State Government through the Commissioner for Commerce and Industry and the General Manager, Jos Main Market Authority, have entered into a purported Joint Venture Partnership Agreement with Jaiz Bank Nigeria Pic for the rebuilding of Jos Main Market.
“The project is specifically for the construction of 4, 231 Shops at the Main market at the estimated cost of Nine Billion, Four Hundred and 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 Plateau people are in opposition to this proposed project.
“Consequently, we wish to add our dissenting voices to those of our people.
“We categorically oppose and reject this project as it is at odds with the interest of the people of Plateau State.
“Further, considering that the current state government is in its twilight, 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 to be in such a rush?
“Is this the only deal on the table to rebuild the Main market? Were other options explored?, if yes, what were the responses?” the group asked.
PSA-USA said that it was their position that prior to the state government’s commitment with Jaiz Bank, extensive and comprehensive consultations with the people of Plateau State were not made.
The group, therefore, called on the state government to immediately cancel the project and all other such projects with huge capital requirements and concentrate on on-going and unfinished projects that would better serve the people of Plateau State.
“The Jos Main Market rebuilding project should be left for the next administration to handle rather than the last minute rush that is being contemplated by the outgoing
“Lastly, we would like to inform the Plateau State Government that PSA and other Plateau State
indigenes in the Diaspora have the human capital and the financial muscle to help the state execute
the Jos Main Market rebuilding project and other capital intensive projects at the appropriate time.
“We welcome the opportunity to work with the next administration to ensure projects are embarked on, in
line with the wishes and aspirations of the people of Plateau State,” the group concluded.
It would be recalled that there had been palpable tension in Jos and its environs following the news on the plan by Governor Lalong to rebuild the market, which got burnt in 2002, through Jaiz Bank.