ASMATA Intercedes In Ajasa Market Crisis affirms its Independence

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By Julie Sylvia, Onitsha

The umbrella body of all traders in Anambra State, Anambra State Markets Amalgamated Traders’ Association, ASMATA, has affirmed the Independence of Ajasa Market Traders’ Association, Onitsha, based on the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended.

It affirmed the Independence after its Conflict and Resolution committee, headed by Chief Eric Uwaoma and secretary, comrade Peter Okala, secretary, heard the submissions of the Ajasa market chairman, Chief Chima Ohia, (petitioner) and chairman of Oseokwodu, Chief Ikechukwu Umeanozie, (defendant), over autonomy/ boundary issues which led to bloody clash recently, resulting in the petitioner being allegedly beaten to stupor.

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The committee also based its judgement on freedom of Association as enshrined in the Constitution citing other markets that sprang up from the popular Onitsha Main market, to include Sokoto, Haruna, Okwei, among others.

Part of the judgement read thus, “That committee members acknowledged that the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria remains our grand-norm and parameters in measurement of our deeds and Acts.

“That Ajasa Market Association remains an independent body of its own as enumerated by some notable individuals and institutions as explained by the petitioner and corraborated by the accused persons.

“That the Ajasa Market Traders’ Association, ASMATA, Ministry of Commerce, and Industry, Onitsha Area Commander, and indeed notable personalities are all in one page on freedom of Association, among others.

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ASMATA committee while delivering the judgement lamented that persons who are products and instruments of the laws often takes the very laws of the land into their own hands which lay negative foundation of insurgency if not nipped in the bud.

Reacting on the judgement, Chief Ohia thanked God, stating that it was a victory for over 80 widows and other petty traders in the market who felt their right of association was being denied them.

Also, the treasurer/women leader, Ngozi Ezediniru, called ‘Madam Black’, by her admirers, said that with the victory, peace has been restored in the market and thanked the ASMATA leadership for restoring peace in markets in the state.

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The Vice chairman, Chief Christopher Onukwuba, said, “We are happy that ASMATA has delivered judgement, we thank God for everything,”

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