The story of the present Building Materials International Market, Ogidi, located along the ever busy Enugu/Onitsha Express Road in Anambra State, is that of a collective commitment of a few traders and market leaders who saw beyond their horizon like the historic Nostradamus, “the man who saw tomorrow”.
The cluster of various street traders who deal in building materials and its accessories make-up the present Building Materials International Market, Ogidi, Idemili North LGA of Anambra State.
Their various locations included Ozomagala Street, Afubera, Ajaegbueze, Onira, St. John’s Cross, Ezenwekwe and other adjoining streets in Onitsha South Local Government Area.
The dream to site a market that would accommodate the growing population of traders and their apprentices started in 1998. A group of traders held a meeting and deliberated on the need to broaden their space. Their continued stay along the streets were all ready constituting nuisance to the public with attendant traffic congestion and noise pollution.
A vast majority of the traders and their leaders who were convinced of the need to relocate to a common market built by the traders embarked on the search and negotiation for a suitable land to site the which had by then experienced an unprecedented population growth.
Nkwelle-Ogidi, which is a sprawling suburb of the commercial town of Onitsha, was chosen as the appropriate site.
Some opposition traders who were not yet convinced of the fear and need to commence financial contributions for the building of the market chose to relax, expressing fear that the market project would never be accomplished.
The actual commencement of work on the site started a year later in 1999 with some traders unable to fulfill their financial obligations towards the new project.
The advent of Dr. Chris Ngige as the Governor of Anambra State in 2003, however changed the traders’ attitude with the passage of the street trading law by the Anambra State House of Assembly which abolished street trading across major cities in the State. It was then that it dawned on majority of the traders the need to expedite action on the project.
The speed with which the market project was handled remains unprecedented in the history of markets in Anambra state.
In 2004, the then Governor Ngige commissioned the market for business with former market Chairman, Sir Mark Aguiyi, receiving encomiums for supervising the building and completion of a gigantic market like Building Material International Market, Ogidi.
It is today called an international market because of the large number of customers and other business associates who troop there daily from within and neighboring countries of Chad, Cameroun, Ghana, Niger and Burkina Faso to buy their wares.
The actual commencement of business was delayed till 2005 because of the dire need to attract majority of the traders into the new market which was now gaining both local and international attention by customers and the manufacturing sector who needed to transact business with the traders.
Many of the materials sold in the market are manufactured locally and internationally. Products like tiles are imported from Spain; while England, USA,Italy, China and UAE are the destination points for household keys. This is not to say that it is the prerogative of only these countries. Other countries are begging to engage in the manufacture of some of these products.
Some of the locally made goods are equally sold in the market. Reacting on the major constraints facing local manufacturers in Nigeria, the President, Building Materials International Market, Ogidi, Chief Jude Nwankwo said that power instability remains the greatest challenge facing industrialists in the country.
Chief Nwankwo opined that a lot of business men in the market and the state have the financial capacity to venture into manufacturing of goods, but lamented that lack of adequate power for the machines was negating the ambition of going into manufacturing.
He also stated that high interest rates charged by banks while sourcing loans by customers as another issue which discourages people from venturing into manufacturing.
The market which boasts of a population strength of about seven thousand people, which include traders, food vendors, unskilled laborers (job men) and other caliber of young men and women who troop to the market daily to transact their businesses.
The market boss who lamented the high rate of revenue charged traders said it was affecting the flow of business as the charges are sometimes passed on to the buyers and consumers of products who bear the brunt of the excessive government taxation.
Nwankwo, however, called on the federal government to reconstruct the Enugu/Onitsha Express Road which he said was negatively affecting their business as most of their customers ply the road while attempting to reach the market.
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