Tony Okafor, Awka
Anambra State traders ,under the aegis of Anambra Elite Traders’ Forum (AETF), have petitioned the state governor, Prof Chukwuma Soludo over the activities of the Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Dr. Obinna Ngonadi, in the markets, especially his( Ngonadi’s) flagrant disobedience of court orders.
The petition which was signed by Chief Chikeluba Odiche and Mr. Michael Nwangwu, tagged: “Re-Sale of Market Leadership Offices and Other Attrocities being Perpetrated by Dr. Obinna Ngonadi, the Commissioner for Commerce and Industry: Reaction To Dr.Obinna’s Response”
The petition to the governor made available to journalists in Onitsha on Wednesday was copied to prominent politicians, religious leaders , human right community and Nigeria Union of Journalists ( NUJ) Anambra State Chapter.
The traders alleged that the Commissioner lied in his response to their earlier petition by denying that he had not turned Anambra State Markets into bazaar of sort.
They said that the Commissioner was economical with the truth as evidence abound that the Commissioner collected various sums of money from those he appointed Caretaker Committee Chairmen and members.
The Commissioner, they said, also denied disobeying court orders and claimed that only two cases from Anambra Markets are pending before High Courts in the State , while one has been withdrawn.
But the traders said no case from the Market had been withdrawn and the Court of Appeal in making an injunctive order stopping the Executives of Nkpor Motor Spare Parts Market from further erecting of shops at the Market lashed at the Market leaders for continuing the work with the authority of the Commissioner who they claimed is their business partner.
They alleged that the Commissioner was expected to make over N80m from building of over one thousand shops at the Nkpor Auto Spare Parts Market.
” It is this expected money from the shops at Nkpor Spare Parts that is making Dr. Ngonadi to recklessly disobey Court orders” they alleged.
They said, “The actions of Ngonadi particularly disobedience to court orders, project the State Government as a state which has no respect forJudiciary. This may set the government on collision course with the judiciary”.
The traders noted that contrary to Ngonadi’s falsehood that the markets were peaceful, there was no peace in any market in the state.
They said there were crises in Oseokwodu Market where Ajasa Market wanted to go their separate ways and thugs were being used to harass the traders.
At Nkpor Main Market, they alleged that traders were being abused and maimed, while tension continue to build at Electronics Market where Commissioner insisted that non-Anambra traders would not hold any office.
The traders appealed to the governor to intervene in what was going on in Anambra markets before the situation would degenerate to loss of lives and destruction of properties.
The said, “We still pray your Excellency to direct the Commissioner to reinstate the duly elected Market Chairmen who were unjustly and unlawfully removed from office. It is only this that may avert the looming danger.’
But speaking through his Administrative Assistant, Chuka Okeke, the Commissioner dismissed the allegations, insisting that there were only two cases against the Commissioner from the markets in Ogbaru Main market and Electronics market.
He said the cases in Auto Spare Parts in Nkpor and Nkpor Main market preceded the Commissioner Ngonadi.
He also denied that the Commissioner collected money from traders who were made Caretaker Committee Chairmen and members.
Okeke described as baseless and childish allegations that the Commissioner collected money from those who were appointed Caretaker Committee Chairmen and members
He said on the contrary it was the traders who wanted to corrupt the Commissioner but he turned them down.
Okeke said it was not just anybody that was appointed into the Caretaker Committee, stressing that the people that thought they would be the chairmen of the markets were not because they profiled all the people that were appointed to make sure that they are competent and honest people.