Anambra 2014: State Govt. Orders Onitsha, Ogidi Markets Closed For ‘SON Stock-Taking’


• Standards watchdog denies program

By Ada Bosa

Market officials at Ogidi Building Materials market, Ogidi, Idemili North Local Government Area (LGA) of Anambra State on Tuesday gave notice of the closure of the market on Thursday October 2013 and directed all traders to move to Peoples Club Secretariat, Owerri Road Onitsha for a ‘meeting of all traders’ which agenda is undisclosed.

However, an official of the Ogidi Market has confided that the move is coming on the instruction of the Anambra State government and is intended to forcefully get traders to attend a political meeting to receive the campaign team of the APGA candidate in the Anambra State gubernatorial race similar to what happened on Monday morning at the Main MARKET Onitsha.

The APGA-controlled government had ordered the Onitsha Main Market closed and asked traders to attend a political really to be addressed by Gov. Obi and Mr. Obiano, but the move was successfully resisted by the traders who embarked on a peaceful demonstration to demonstrate their grievance.

‘Not even the personal arrival of the Governor Obi and Obiano could deter the protesting traders. Rather the governor’s entourage were pelted with sachet water bags, prompting a quick retreat to Whitehouse office of the Onitsha Amalgamated Traders Association (OMATA), where the donation of N1m announced by the governor was shouted down with many booing his entourage’ reported The Nation, one of Nigeria’s highest circulating dailies on Tuesday.

The APGA- government is caught up in its own order to ban open campaigns in the markets which opposition parties had initially been opposed in what the APC spokesperson in the state Arc. Okelo Madukaife described as ‘ not being founded on the law’

The speculations that Obiano is about to compel the traders in Ogidi to another meeting is already creating tension in many sections of the Ogidi market which emerged from the decision of Anambra State government in 2005 to de-congest Onitsha town and spread specialized markets to neighboring locations.

They told us that there will be no commercial activity in the market on that day because some officials of the Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON) were coming to take stock of all the goods sold in Onitsha on that same day,( Thursday October 31, 2013), but I am still skeptical considering what happened in Onitsha’ the source said yesterday.

Investigation however showed that it is campaign move by APGA as indications in the office of the Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON), are that no such visit has been arranged.

When confronted with the question, a source close to SON laughed throwing back a question : ‘If you were in SON and you are going to take stock of goods, would you do so in a town hall meeting , or would you ask the traders to stay in their shops so that you can take stock of the goods?

Greg Orji, an Idemili North LGA official of National Conscience Party condemns the move ‘APGA must take steps to respect the right of Anambra people to their legitimate pursuit of their means of livelihood.

Making reference to the Onitsha incident on Monday, Orji insisted that the situation in Onitsha on Monday in which APGA was forcing itself on traders and eventually had to draft the Police to maintain order in a problem they caused is building up again, and “we shall hold the arty responsible for any fracas that arises from forcing an unpopular candidate on the people”.

Efforts made to speak with the State Chairman of APGA, Chief Mike Kwentoh on the Development proved abortive before press time as he was not picking his mobile telephone.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, Madukaife declared in response to the incident at Onitsha Main Market that the ‘argument on campaign in the market is now over as parties are free to campaign, since APGA has done so with the backing and personal attendance of the governor’.



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