Posted by The Vanguard on
TRADERS of Ochanja Central Market, Onitsha, yesterday, took their protest to Government House, Awka over what they called intimidation, harassment and illegal sealing-off of their shops by the Ochanja Market Management Committee
ANAMBRA— TRADERS of Ochanja Central Market, Onitsha, yesterday, took their protest to Government House, Awka over what they called intimidation, harassment and illegal sealing-off of their shops by the Ochanja Market Management Committee set up by the State Government Led by the Chairman of Amalgamated Union, Association Ochanja Central Market, Mr. Olisa Okafor, the protesting traders numbering over 2000 disowned the elected leadership of the market for alleged seal-out against the traders.
The management committee has allegedly sealed-off over 300 shops last Wednesday over the traders alleged refusal to pay N12,000 revalidation / allocation fees for their shops.
But the traders according to the Amalgamated Union leader, Mr. Okafor queried the rational behind the payment of the money.
"when we paid for the land, build the shops and were allocated the shops during the Chief Jim Nwobodo’’s regime of old Anambra State."
"We have paid all the levies accruable to the government this year, from development levy of N500 to stallage fee of N1,800 and traders tax of N1,500.
So we don’t know why we have to pay revalidation and allocation fee of N12,000 for shops we have been occupying for more than 20 years.
"How are we sure that another government will not come and ask us to pay N20,000 revalidation and allocation fee if we pay this," Okafor queried.
He said they decided to close the whole section of the market because if they don’t protest the intimidation and harassment against their colleagues, other sections of the market will be visited with the same intimidation. Spokesman of the women in the market, Mrs. Nkiruka Eze while narrating their ordeal in the market said that the elected executive of the market did not lead the protest because they were threatened by the management committee that the state government will dissolve them if they show any sign of disapproval to the fee.
"We are angry with the president of Ochanja Central Market because we told him that we will close shops because of the treatment meted against our colleagues in the electronic section.
He disagreed with us yet he could not effect the unsealing of the shops sealed by the committee.
""We are in chains in Ochanja Market, the management committee of this market has stifled business activities here, we don’’t know if Anambra State Government is anti-traders if not why must our elected executive be kept redundant while the management committee set up by the State Government will be unleashing terror and untold hardship against the traders,"" Mrs. Eze lamented.
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