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Tension in Nnewi as traders resist demolition of shops

Tension in Nnewi as traders resist demolition of shops - Traders, the state government, the state, Nnewi, demolition, agbo edo

By Praise Necherem

at Agbo-Edo mar­ket, Nkwo , Anam­bra State, have protested alleged plans by gov­ernment to demolish about 320 shops in the market.

The protesting de­manded the immediate suspen­sion of the exercise as well as what they called “over taxation” of in the mar­ket.

The protesters shut down the market and marched round ma­jor streets of the industrial town to press home their demands before converging on the palace of the traditional ruler of , Igwe Kenneth O. Orizu III.

Some of the placards dis­played by the traders read: ” No more imposition of illegal levies in Agbo-Edo market, no more structures in our market, we don’t need building of more shops, among others.”

The traders, led by Mr. Er­nest-Mary Ezenwa, alleged high-handedness of the market leadership under Mr. Christo­pher Osuchukwu, accusing the leadership of collaborating with to demol­ish traders’ stalls and impose high levies on stalls.

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Ezenwa said, “notices of demo­lition of 320 stalls from Ministry of Trade, Commerce, Market and Wealth Creation in collaboration with Star-Unic Enterprises Limited were past­ed on shops on a Sunday with­out any arrangement for the af­fected traders’ relocation.

im­posed a stall levy of N12,200 per shop in the market and the leaders increased the levy to N13,200. We will not pay any­thing above what government stipulated.”

The protesters called on the Governor, Willie Obiano to inter­vene to avert impending crises.

Addressing the protesters through the Crown Prince, Obi Orizu, Igwe Orizu III, called for calm, assuring that their com­plaints would be given the at­tention it deserved.

The monarch promised to schedule a meeting with Nnewi North council chairman, Nzu­ko-Ora (Nnewi town union), oth­er stakeholders, including the traders to look into the matter.

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Reacting, the chairman of the market association, Mr. Christo­pher Osuchukwu, said the trad­ers were served three months notice, which was meant to re­move illegal structures in the market, construct drainages and create access roads.

He, however, denied raising the stall charge above what the government asked traders to pay, challenging the accusers of his leadership to produce a re­ceipt to back up their claims.

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