Democratise Markets, Anambra Traders tell Soludo


The Governor of Anambra State, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, has been urged to set machinery in motion for the immediate conduct of election in Anambra State Markets.

A group of traders under the aegis of Concerned Traders of Anambra State (CTAS) in a statement issued in Onitsha after their strategic meeting yesterday said the democratisation of market leaderships in the State has become imperative to stem the activities of scavengers who are bent in destroying the major industry that sustains the State.

The protem chairman of the traders’ group, Chief Augustine Echezona, said the election should commence with the leadership of Anambra State Markets Amalgamated Traders Association (ASMATA), then flows down to other markets .

He said the election has become necessary because the present market leadership in the State led by Chief Humphery Anuna, has lost credibility, focus and therefore failed to live up to the expectations of the traders.

The group accused Chief Anuna leadership of arbitrary extortion of money from traders which he does not account for.

They alleged that Anuna was said to be demanding N200, 000 from each member of the present Caretaker Committees in the State markets so that they would not be dropped , apart from the recent levy of N2,500 he allegedly imposed on every shop in Anambra State markets, which he claimed was meant for the provision of fire fighting equipment.

The decision to pay N2,500, according to the Concerned Traders was handed down to market leaders during one of those Chief Anuna’s several meetings with them held penultimate Sunday, where he alone literally took over the entire proceedings from the beginning to the end without allowing any other contribution.

Chief Anuna, the group alleged, has no “reputation, capacity and competence” to handle the office of President -General of ASMATA, alleging that the other day he went to Main Market and hijacked the negotiation about MTN mast mounted there and collected the money.

The group also said this fraudulent act was not limited to Main Market only but to other markets like Mgbuka Obosi, Bridgehead among others where he collected money and gave approval for building of shops.

Anuna, the group said equally said imposed N50,000.00 levy on each of the 68 major markets and about 98 other minor markets in the State for the printing of ASMATA constitution for what may not cost up to N150,000.00.

Unfortunately, said the traders’group, Chief Anuna does not account for these money he collects from traders in different markets in the State.

Chief Anuna, the treders’ body also alleged was colluding with some officials of Ministry of Commerce who corruptly enrich themselves in all these questionable deals.

The group lamented that in all these money Chief Anuna collects, he was yet to pay the woman who supplied him gala during the botched campaign rally for APGA candidates for the just concluded general election held at Rojenny Stadium, Oba, in Idemili South Local Government Area of the State.

” The problem is that they don’t tell the Governor the truth in all these things . They tell him lies.We appeal to the Governor to direct that election should be organised in Anambra markets starting from ASMATA for a charismatic and credible person to take over the leadership of ASMATA” said the group.

“But if they fail”, said the traders body, “we foresee massive protest rocking Anambra markets sooner than later”.

They accused Anuna of behaving like an emperor as he boasts that he literally handpicked members of ASMATA and any of them who does not do his bidding would be sacked.

The group asked the Governor to investigate the activities of Anuna before traders mobilise for protest against his maladministration, wanring that the ASMATA boss is reintroducing the lawlessness that Anambra market leadership was known for in the past which resulted in unnecessary bloodbath.

“This won’t work. Traders are ready for a show down. He should disband his “Make Way team” which he uses to defraud traders. These are people Anuna wants to use to rob traders. This group should immediately be disbanded. It is not good for the image of the Governor” said the traders.

They also alleged that Chief of Staff (CoS), Mr Ernest Ezeajugh, and Chief Anuna compromised themselves at Ogbogwu market, Bridgehead Market and that is why they allowed them to be collecting stallage fees.

“The same thing they did at Ose Okwodu market, where they carved Ajasa out of Ose, to create confusion because of their pecuniary interest.Anuna, alleging that the past president-general of ASMATA, Chief Ekwegbalu were in that deal together.

“Now that Ekwegbalu has left Anuna has continued where he stopped with CoS being included in the deal” the group said.

The Concerned Traders said a situation where a President-General of ASMATA would be moving from market to market begging for money is demeaning and affront to that office, the entire traders in the State and even those who appointed him.

The group said it is regrettable that even as they were making complaints to the Governor, Chief Anuna and CoS have already compiled fresh list as chairmen and members of Caretaker Committees of some markets they intend to announce soon.

Alleging that they have already collected money from these people, they asked Governor Soludo to resolve the problems in the market to face challenging developmental projects of the State without distraction from markets.

The Concerned traders reminded the Governor that one year has already gone in his administration and the leadership of market has not been addressed squarely, advising that the earlier the leadership of markets in the State is democratised the better for his administration so that they can work and plan for his second term election.

By Ifeizu Joe

Ifeizu is a seasoned journalist and Managing Editor of TheRazor. He has wide knowledge of Anambra State and has reported the state objectively for over a decade.

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