By Nasir Kura
Governor Simon Bako Lalong of of Plateau state said Thursday the state government would rebuild the abandoned Jos Terminus Market in order to generate enough revenue to pay the new minimum wage approved by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The governor said this while fielding questions from State House correspondents after cl ose-door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
The governor also dismissed reports in some sections of the media that the state government had budgeted N1.1 billion in its 2019 appropriation for the demolition of the marker, saying the report was baseless and unfair.
He said: “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. 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.
“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.”