By Phil Okose, Onitsha
The Anambra state commissioner for commerce, trade, markets and wealth creation, Christian Madubuko, on Monday, arrested another set of three illegal revenue agents in Onitsha. The latest arrest came barely one week after the commissioner arrested the first set of 75 such agents in the same commercial nerve centre of the state.
Out of the three, two were arrested at the TRACAS bus-stop axis, Upper Iweka while one was arrested at the Bridgehead approach where they had been extorting money from people. The commissioner who drove in a convoy, with armed security operatives, round some Onitsha markets in search of the criminals had, on sighting the three illegal revenue agents, ordered their immediate arrest.
Addressing traders of New Auto Spare Parts market Nkpor, Idemili North local government area, he hinted that the war against the illegal revenue agents had just started to yield dividends and called for the cooperation of the traders in the state in fishing out the hoodlums.
He commended the chairman and members of the market for abiding by the law guiding markets in the state and urged them to maintain the tempo.
He pledged to sack illegal revenue agents who operate under the Nkpor fly-over bridge and reminded them that the ban on all manners of revenue collections is still in force.
“You know that government has banned all forms of revenue collections including payment of stallage fee for now. So whoever demands for such revenue arrest him and take him to the nearest police station and call me, we want to put an end to this rubbish”.
On conduct of elections in the markets in the state he recalled that he intervened at the Nkpor New Auto Spareparts market when some people wanted to hijack the market leadership through the back door instead of having a democratically elected executive.
“It is no longer business as usual, traders must be allowed to elect their leaders, the era of imposition of leaders has gone. No democratically elected leader like your chairman, Ozorkwere, will be removed until the expiration of his tenure then you can re-elect him if he wants to go for second tenure and you think he performed” On top of the demands of the traders to the Commissioner which is rehabilitation of the major bank road that leads to the market, which
the Commissioner pledged to carry the demand to the Governor and expressed optimism that it would be looked into.
Ozorkwere had earlier in his speech commended the commissioner for the peaceful co-existence between the traders and state government which has made it possible for democratic leadership in all the markets in the state.
“We continue to demand for one thing, rehabilitation of the major bank road that leads to the market, every other thing we do it by ourselves, if it is the only thing government does for us we are satisfied” he pleaded.
At the Building Material Market Ogidi, the commissioner was taken round a new modern adjourning market site with facilities nearing completion by the Chairman, Chief Jude Okonkwo (Ezeudo) his executives, chairman of Board of Trustees, Chief Mark Aguiyi and his secretary, Chief Emeka Okafor (Ezeafojulu) and patrons of the market, where he bowed for the traders there for the multi million naira adjourning market site.
“I have not seen any market like this, in most of the markets I go what I see is litigations. I can see you support your chairman and he is doing well. I know you spent a lot in channelling the flood and buildings.
Don’t allow people to foment trouble to separate you. Government will commission the project when completed.
On illegal revenue agents, touts and looters he urged them to expose them to help sanitise the state.
In their speeches earlier, the Chairman said that, “we don’t wait for government to do our project, there is no miracle in our achievements, it is just peace and unity amongst the traders”
Contributing, the founder of the market, Chief Mark Aguiyi said, government owns all the markets, we are just the caretakers, it is peace and unity that developed the market not miracle”
Also at the Uba Planks and Hoist Association, UPJA market, (Ogbosisi) Bridge head approach, the chairman, Chief Anthony Chiloli, and Chairman of the entire Bridgehead market, Chief Sunday Obinze commended the commissioner for his war against illegal revenue agents and ticket collectors.