Traders and groups in Anambra State have continued to condem the planned imposition of Caretaker Committee on the umbrella Market Association in the State, Amalgamated Markets Traders Association of Anambra State (AMATAS).
Anambra Traders Forum (ATF), which has raised alarm over plot to plunge the the markets in the State into crisis by the State Government.
Recall that AMATAS had fixed June 5, 2019 to hold her state general executive election after the expiration of the tenure of Chief Okwudili Ezenwankwo, who is now House of Representatives -elect.
But the State Government through the Commissioner for Commerce, Trade and Investment, Dr. Christian Madubuko, cancelled the election, stating that the State Government would impose Caretaker Committee for the traders in Anambra State.
In the last ten years, said ATF, Chief Ezenwankwo has been in the saddle in the markets and the State have enjoyed relative peace and stability and peaceful coexistence among traders.
In a press conference addressed by the President of ATF, Dede Uzor, A. Uzor,said that”the imposition of Caretaker Committee will bastardise and throw the entire market into confusion which will lead to factionalisation and division in the markets” .
The group lamented the continued plot by some elements and traders from Anambra North for their people(omambala) to take over the leadership of markets in the State.
Stressing that it is becoming unbearable, the group noted that most major markets in the State have been taken over by the same Omambala people through the instrumentality of Anambra State Government.
Currently, said ATF decried that, major markets in the State like Bridgehead market, Main Market Onitsha, Mgbuka Obosi, Nkpor Main Market, Marine Modern Market, Freedom market alias Biafran Market, Liberty market,Abada Market, Onitsha Drug Market, Millennium and Importers Market, Bicycle Parts Ogbunike among others are being controlled by people from Omambala area of the State.
ATF warned that with the sectionalisation of market leadership in the State, Government was setting a dangerous precedent in the market Association and political development of the State because when power would finally lives Omambala for another zone, if would be Governor toes the path of this Government, he will do the same thing.
“But it will beget anarchy, dictatorship and bastardization of democratic principles in Anambra market politics.
This practice should be discontinued and stopped because the former Governor, Mr. Peter Obi did not impose or coerce Anaocha people or Agulu people on the traders during his time.
He allowed due process and fair democratic system to flow” they said.
ATF reminded Dr Christian Madubuko as Commissioner for Commerce, Trade and industry and Wealth Creation that his office expected to includes other departments offices in the administration of policy development,he should not solely concentrates on traders affairs but shall channel his expertise and energy to other departments like Creating a favorable environment for our industry in turn creating jobs for our teeming Anambra youths who has no jobs after graduation from respective universities in the country
The Traders’ group called on the Governor and his Commissioner for Commerce, Trade and industry and Wealth Creation, Dr. Christian Madubuko to retrace their steps to avoid plunging the State into unavoidable and unimaginable choas.
The group said the election of AMATAS executives should be made an open ballot system in line with ASMATA Constitution, so that traders can choose their leaders unhindered.
In a related development ATF called on the State Government to drop the proposal of traders paying N50,000 to acquire Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) for their shops/ stalls, asking whether by that payment the Government tend to have surrendered the ownership of those stalls to traders?
They said the government should clarify whether with the payment, the traders will henceforth stop the payment of Stallage fees,Development levies among other levies,? because they are now the new and rightful owners of their respective shops and stalls? ”
In our well considered opinion, this proposal is an attempt to allegedly defraud traders by some elements in Government”said the group because (CoOs) if issued to a landed property to an individual became automatically his or hers immediately after payment to such property.
He warned further that continuation of strangulation of traders for multiple taxation and levies portend grave danger.
ATF urged the State Government to discountennance the idea and called on Obiano to follow democratic process in picking the leadership of traders in the State so that he will not run into collision course with traders, who contributed above 70 percent of his electoral victory during the last gubernatorial election,Said Dede Uzor