All is not well at the Ariaria International market, Aba, Abia state as the recently inaugurated caretaker committee chairman of the market, Mr. Lucky Akubueze has been engaged in a battle for supremacy with a section of the traders over their refusal to pay the sum of N2 million he allegedly demanded from them or have the elected executives of the A –D sub union of the market dissolved.
The traders who are alleging that Akubueze made good his threat to dissolve their union executives as a result of their refusal to give him the sum of N2million he demanded from them as gratification, have vowed not to allow the dissolution stand.
In a petition addressed to the Abia state Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Hon. Chisom Nwanmuo and signed by the chairman of A-D sub union, Chief Cyril Jubulu, the Secretary, Mrs. Eugenia Adikuru and 23 others, the traders stated how on assumption of office, Akubueze demanded from them a bribe of N2million or he would make things difficult for them in the market.
According to the petition, “We wish to inform you that against the wishes of members of the zone and not minding the attendant consequences, Mr. Lucky Akubueze, acting above his powers purportedly dissolved an elected executive of A-D sub union and announced the splitting of the zone into two.
“That as elected executives and members of the zone, we reject in its entirety the purported dissolution of the executives of our zone because Mr. Lucky Akubueze as an appointed chairman has no powers to dissolve elected officials whose tenure have not ended.
“Against the lies he told us that he was acting on behalf of the governor, we are aware that government did not send him to demand a gratification of N2m from the zone, the rejection of which is the bedrock of his illegitimate actions.”
Akubueze, whom the traders had been accusing of boasting that as a relation to Gov Theodore Orji, he would do anything in the market and go scot free, is also said to be using the Abia State Vigilante Service (a.k.a Bakassi Boys) to harass the elected officials of the zone.
The traders also accused the Caretaker Committee Chairman of always trying to pitch them against the state government as he (Akubueze) prepared placards different from the ones youths of the zone used to demonstrate against his highhanded actions and wrote things on them that falsely convey the message that the traders were against the PDP government in Abia State, describing this as the height of deceit.
When contacted by our correspondent, Akubueze denied the allegations and added that no zone in the market had up to N2m in its account, stressing that the A-D union was split into two because of its large size.
He admitted being a relation of the governor, but threatened to deal with the union executives after consulting the latter.
“In fact I would not because of the allegation deny the fact that (Gov) T.A (Orji) is my brother. To be candid, one of these days, I am going to seek audience with him and after tabling this matter before him; I would then come and deal with these recalcitrant former executives of the zone.”