Anambra Traders Protest Over The Arrest Of Their Market Leader
Traders in Nkwo Umunze market in Orumba South Local Government Area of Anambra State on Thursday, protest over the arrest and detention of Mr Obioma Okoli, the chairman of the market.
The traders who grounded economic activities in the area carried placards with different inscriptions, seeking for the freedom of Okoli who they said was detained by a developer, Mr Ben Oranusi.
The traders accused Oranusi of trying to lure them to abandon an existing market and relocate to his.
Leaders of the market including Izuchukwu Nwankwo, Okey Nzebafor, Ikechukwu Anichebe, Gladys Nzekwe and Uchendu Emenike who spoke to journalists urged Obiano to intervene in their matter, accusing Oranusi of destroying a section of the market, just to force them to take up stalls in his market.
One of the traders, Izuu Nwankwo said:
We (traders) are not against having more markets in this town, but this traditional market that was established about 50 years ago should not be demolished just because a new one has been built.
If the new ultra-modern market becomes fully occupied today, will the developer be happy if another one is built later and his own demolished? He should allow us carry out our business here, while new people can occupy that one.
Anambra Traders Protest
Another Trader, Okey Nzebafor who was a one-time chairman of the market said the market leaders and the town union leadership had reached an agreement with representatives of the state government for the two markets to coexist but the developer was going contrary to that agreement.
Some of us are ready to take up shops at the new market when completed, other people from other towns will come to trade there too and it will be a big market, so let the developer complete it first because as it is now, nobody can trade there.
The woman leader in the market, Mrs Gladys Nzekwe urged Obiano to wade into the troubles in the market and also help release the market’s chairman.
They came and arrested our chairman, saying that he came with guns and all manner of dangerous weapons to attack Ben Oranusi in his house. For close to two weeks now he has been in detention.
Even members of the executives of this market were also invited to the police station for the same allegation, but they later withdrew the invitation.
We are no longer comfortable in this market, let our amiable governor come to our aid, help release our chairman and also restrain Ben Oranusi from terrorizing us every day.
Oranusi, denies the allegations of arresting anyone or even destroying any section of the market. He also said there was no truth in the allegation that he was forcing the traders to move to the Umunze Utramordern market.
I do not have the powers to demolish the market or even force them to relocate to the ultramodern market. It was the state government that demolished the market and also asked the traders to move.
The leaders of this community met and were unhappy about the spate of accidents in that section of the town because of the congestion of that market.
Every day, people are killed. You should have seen that the people trade on the main road, so the community decided to get a new place. We have every facility that is needed in a modern market, but the people insist on staying in that dirty environment. It is the government that is moving them, not me, he said.