Hundreds of Anambra State citizens, including market women, demonstrated against the council chairman of the Onitsha South Local Government Area.
They said that Emeka Orji was planning to kick them out of the Oduigbo part of the Ochanja Central market.
The protesters’ spokesperson, Chief Chukwudi Eke, charged the council chairman with conspiring with Chief Bonaventure Muo, the head of Ochanja Central Market, to evict them under the guise of building ultra-modern stores in the market.
The protesters who were mainly widows were seen carrying placards with the inscription, “council chairman, Emeka Orji, what have we done to you?”, “we are widows and eke our living from Oduigbo market”, “Gov. Soludo come to our rescue, they want to demolish the shops in the market to acquire more shops to be the ones they have”, among others.
Speaking to the press at the gate of the council headquarters, during the protest, Chief Eke was quoted as saying, “The market chairman, Chief Muo and the council chairman, gave us two days to vacate the market or they will use caterpillars to demolish the over 300 shops.
“They said Sunday and Monday would be used for the demolition and asked us to vacate the market before they come up with their weapons of destruction. There was a time the government came and told us that the market was dark that there should be light in the market by renovating it.
“We told them that we can do that by ourselves to their taste but because of interest they have in the market to have shops, they now want to eject us. 80 per cent of the traders here are widows that eke their living from the Oduigbo market.
“We plead to Governor Charles Chukwuma Soludo to come to our rescue as we have no other person to understand our predicament except him as Nwa Mgbafor,” he stated.
In his reaction, the chairman of the Ochanja market, Chief Muo, stated that he was acting on orders from the government.
He said, “The government wants to restore sanity in the market and ensure that those in the streets are brought into the markets to avoid unforeseen catastrophe.
“What the government is doing is for the traders’ own good, to avoid accidents and street trading that is nuisance to the state. We are not sacking them; rather it is to better their environment,” he stated.