Onitsha Traders Protest, Reject Soludo’s Caretaker Officers
By Mokwugwo Solomon
Traders in Onitsha Main Market in Anambra State, under the aegis of Matchet Dealers Association (Matchet Line) Onitsha Main Market, Thursday, protested alleged imposition of caretaker executive on the market by the Anambra State government.
The traders, who marched around the market before ending their protest at the Main Market secretariat, popularly known as the White House, carried placards and chanted songs depicting their anger and displeasure over alleged imposition of caretaker on them.
Some of the placards read: “Matchet Line Traders Say No To Caretaker; We Have Elected Officers;” “No Line In Onitsha Market Has Caretaker; Matchet Line Cannot Be An Exception;” “Gov Soludo, Please, Help Us So That We Can Avert Trouble At The Matchet Line;” among other things.
Speaking during the protest, chairman of the Matchet Dealers Association, Nze Emeka Anyanwo, said that he was democratically elected by traders in the Matchet Line, who gave him the mandate to be their chairman.
He expressed surprise that few days ago, some individuals came to the market, and announced to the traders that the Ministry of Trade and Commerce, under Dr Obinna Ngonadi as its Commissioner, gave them the mandate to take over leadership of the market on caretaker capacity.
While insisting that the individuals allegedly mandated to administer the market as caretaker executive were not bonafide members of the market union; Anyanwo said that traders in the market would not succumb to any form of intimidation or imposition; and begged the Anambra government under Prof Charles Soludo, to retract its steps for the sake of peace.
Addressing the protesters, Central Chairman of Onitsha Main Market, Chief Innocent Ezeoha, commended the protesting traders for their peaceful conduct. He further advised them to put their petition in writing, and forward to his office for onward submission to the governor’s office, and the Ministry of Trade and Commerce.
Also addressing the protesters, the Zone 3 chairman of the market, Chief Robinson Ezebunanwa, who affirmed that he witnessed the Matchet Line election, where Emeka Anyanwo emerged as chairman, urged the traders to channel their grievances to the appropriate quarters for necessary actions.
Highpoint of the protest was that a member of the caretaker executive allegedly constituted for the market union, Mr Eze Chukwuebuka, announced that he was rejecting membership of the committee; since, according to him, his permission was not sought before his name was enlisted as member.
While describing the caretaker committee as a destabilizing factor, and handwork of the enemy, Eze also called on other members of the committee to denounce their membership.