Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State has said that he became a billionaire at 25 years of age due to hard work and commitment to duty.
Mr Umahi, who made the declaration while interacting with leaders of Abakpa main market in Abakaliki, debunked social media reports that he owns shops at the market and built his house within one year.
“I work very hard, I am not a poor person but a very, very rich person.
“You can’t use the state’s money and still do all these things (projects) we are doing, I don’t have any shop or any interest in the market,” he said.
Governor Umahi also said rescinding some of the decisions on the relocation of the traders from the market was due to the intervention of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).
He also announced that the Abakpa market would now be designated and called Ebonyi Fruits and Vegetable Market.
“We presently have a special assistant on the market, the structures that are still strong are going to be renovated.
“The traders have two options: it is either you renovate it to our taste and become landlords or we do it on our own and you are no longer the landlord,” he added.
Mr Umahi also announced that due to the intervention of CAN, the government had changed the date of the trader’s relocation to the state’s international market to Jan.10, 2020 instead of the original Oct.15, 2019.
He also ordered that some of the shops that were hitherto sealed in the market and re-opened be re-sealed due to the owners’ reluctance to withdraw their lawsuits against the government.
“The same applies to the such traders at the building materials market as we will enter into appearance with those who took us to court,” Mr Umahi said.
The Chairman of CAN in the state, Abraham Nwali, thanked the governor for his magnanimity in extending the relocation date, adding that the association would ensure an amicable resolution of the issue.
Mr Nwali, who is also the governor’s Senior Special Assistant (SSA) on Religion and Welfare Matters, called for cooperation by all concerned parties in the overall interest of stakeholders.
The traders had been having a running battle with the state government over their relocation to the international market.