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Saturday, July 13, 2024

Radio, television technicians protest alleged eviction from Onitsha market

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By Chuks Eke
No fewer than 250 members of Radio and television technicians, under the umbrella of Association of Radio and Television Technician Anambra State, ARTTANS, have protested alleged forcefull eviction from Onitsha market by the State Government, in alleged collaboration with members of Electronic Spare Parts Traders Association, ESPTA.
The protesters, carrying placards with various inscriptions insisted that the leadership of ESPTA, Onitsha branch is behind the government action.
They also accused the ESPTA leadership of collaborating with the state government to eject them in the guise of building modern shops at Harbour Industrial Layout Atani , in Ogbaru local Government Area of the State.
Some of the placards read, “Governor Chukwuma Soludo come to our rescue, Freedom of Association is our fundamental right, We are Artisan not Traders, Governor Soludo rescue us from this intimidation, E.T.P.T.A go with with your members only, we are not part of you, the new market is for members of Electronic Spare Part Traders Association only, we say no to forcefull ejection, among others.
The protesters who trekked from their office at Modebe/Iweka Roundabout to through Modebe Avenue, ended their peaceful protest st the Traders’ House which is the Administrative Headquarters of Anambra State Markets Amalgamated Traders Association, ASMATA.
Addressing newsmen shortly after the protest at the ASMATA headquarters Onitsha, the State Chairman of ARTTANS, Mr. Sabastine Ebilite, explained that the ejection notice was actually served to the Spare part Traders to relocate their businesses to Harbour Industrial Layout and not them the ARTTANS but due to the nature of their work and for paring shops with the dealers, they became victim of the situation.
According to him, we are aware of the relocation notice place in front of our shops by the state government through the governor’s Special Adviser on Trade and Market, Chief Evaristus Obi, dated June 11th, 2024 been the last day for every occupy to vacate but we are not traders as been instructed by the state government, we are Artisans, we repairs radios and televisions, which gives us the mandate to operate anywhere, particularly where we are now in Iweka road Onjanjabm market that also has residential houses.
“Due to the nature of our work, we can not operate in industrial layout but the spare part traders are forcing us to join them.  We are different from them. We want to remain were we are here in Iweka road where is closed to residential houses. We are not interested of relocating to that place. We are very much comfortable here.
“We are appealing to Governor Chukwuma Soludo to come to our rescue because as I speak to you now, we are finding it difficult to feed our families at the moment. The situation is adding more pains to the existing hardship in the land. The governor should urgently intervene because we are law abiding citizens that pays their taxes and government revenues at went due.
Over 250 of my members are now roaming the streets of Onitsha doing nothing.
“We seriously need urgent attention from the government, the chairman stated.
In his reaction, the State Vice Chairman of ESPTA, Onitsha branch, Mr. Chidi Iwuji Uju, denied the allegation, noting that his members are also affected by the government action.
He warned the protesters to always verify information before pointing accusation finger against them.
Speaking on behalf of the Anambra State Almagmated Traders Association, ASMATA, President General, Chief Humphrey Anuna, the Chairman of the Association, Onitsha Zone, Sir Eric Uwoma, while describing the protest as peaceful, promised them of quick Government intervention.
In his reaction in a telephone chat, the Special Adviser to Governor Chukwuma Soludo’s on Trade and Market, Chief Evarist Uba told newsmen that Governor Soludo’s does not want Street trading, adding that traders should go to their markets  and stop blocking the roads in the name of trading.
It was gathered that the State government has sealed off electronics Market at Iweka road in Onitsha over refusal by traders to relocate to their permanent site in Harbour Industrial Layout Atani, Ogbaru Local Government Area of the State.
Reacting to the development, the Managing Director of Operation Clean and Healthy Anambra, OCHA Brigade Mr Celestine Anere also told newsmen that the relocation of the market became expedient because the location at the current site is not in line with the planning of the city.
According to Mr Anere, the closure of the market became necessary after traders at the market refused to relocate to the new permanent site despite several notices by the state government.
He assured the traders that the new site is better planned to accommodate them and that government has provided necessary facilities for conducive business transactions and enjoined traders to relocate to the new site in Atani.
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