Planned eviction – We’re struggling to feed our families – Protesting TV, radio repairers lament

Over 250 radio and television repairers under the umbrella of Association of Radio and Television Technician in Anambra State (ARTTANS) weekend protested alleged forcefull eviction from Onitsha market by State Government.

The protesters, carrying placards with varying inscriptions accused leadership of Electronic Spare Part Traders Association (ESPTA), Onitsha branch of collaborating with government to carry out the ejection.

They appealed to Governor Chukwuma Soludo to come to their rescue, saying they were finding it difficult to feed their families.

Some of the placards read, “Freedom of Association is our fundamental right”, “We are Artisan not Traders”, “Governor Soludo rescue us from this intimidation,”, “The new market is for members of Electronic Spare Part Traders Association only”, “We say no to forcefull ejection”, among others.

Addressing newsmen shortly after the protest at the ASMATA headquarters Onitsha, State Chairman of ARTTANS, Chief Sabastine Ebilitea alleged that ESPTA leadership eject them in the guise of building modern shops at Harbour Industrial Layout Atani in Ogbaru local Government Area of the State.

He explained that the ejection notice was actually served to the Spare Part Traders to relocate their busineses 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.

He said, “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 being instructed by 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 Óchánja 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 sre 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.”

Reacting, State Vice Chairman, ESPTA, Onitsha branch, Mr. Chidi Ude denied the allegation, saying his members were also affected by the government’s action.

He warned the protesters to always verify information before pointing accusing fingers on them.

Also speaking on behalf of Anambra State Almagmated Traders Association (ASMATA) President General, Chief Humphrey Anuna, Chairman of the Association, Onitsha Zone, Sir Eric Awoma described the protest as peaceful, promising them of government quick intervention.

It was gathered that government had 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.

Managing Director of Operation Clean and Healthy Anambra, OCHA Brigade Mr Celestine Anere, who disclosed this in an interview with Journalists immediately after conducting the exercise, explained 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 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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