Traders in the electrical/electronics market on old Nnewi-Onitsha Road, Nnewi, Anambra State, are protesting the closure and relocation of the market.
The protesters, numbering about 2,000, complained that the new site was not built to their taste.
Chairman of Diago/Okeke Line, Kenneth Offodum said the traders rejected the site because they were not consulted insisting that the traders who be owners of the shops must also partake in their building.
He added that security operatives did not allow them to access their stalls to pick their belongings. “Nobody gave us notice that we must relocate to anywhere today. We were told the Commissioner for Trade, Uchenna Okafor, gave the directive. Yet, he hasn’t come to see us, except some days ago when fire gutted our stalls and goods worth millions of naira were lost.
After sympathising with us, Okafor said there were no plans to relocate us now. He said his office was still consulting to know what to do. But we are surprised to hear it is the same commissioner who has instructed that we be forced out of this place. We suspect our former chairman, Ugochukwu Udemezue, of masterminding the plot to force us to relocate to Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu plaza. His tenure has expired and he does not allow a fresh election …”, Mr. Offodum said.
He said the traders would relocate to a larger space and develop it themselves. “We will not leave our current market site where we are tenants, only to relocate to another place and continue to be tenants. We reject that because we know the nature of our business and what is good for us.”
Vice-Chairman Obienu/Okeke Line Chidi Udemezue, a dealer on multi-media and computers, said he lost all his goods to fire lamented that the only sympathy was for government to force them to relocate unceremoniously.