Chairman of Ochanja Central market, Onitsha, Anambra State, Mr. Bonaventure Muo has disassociated himself from the alleged plot to demolish shops at the Oduigbo section of Ochanja Central market, Onitsha, Anambra State.
No fewer than 3000 traders, including 500 had on Friday protested against alleged plot by the Local government Area leadership to demolish their shops
But in a swift reaction to newsmen on the said plot, Mr. Muo debunked allegations levelled against him by the protesting traders that he was collaborating with the Onitsha South Council Chairman, Mr. Emeka Orji, to eject them from the Odu-Igbo section of the market.
He said all information he had been giving to them emanated directly from State Government and not from his office.
“The reason why vmy committee and I are kept in the market by government is to create peace in the market and ensure that all roads are decongested. Government did not give me mandate to demolish market. It is the duty of government to know which market to demolish not me,” he maintained.
Muo recalled that the deputy Governor, Dr. Onyekachi Ibezim, earlier visited the market and told him that he would go to Odu-Igbo section of the market.
” When the deputy Governor went there, he went around and said a lot of things about the market. He said he would demolish the narket in three days after conducting interviews to some women who complained to him their challenges.
“The Deputy Governor took pity on them and consoled them. He informed them that he would demolish the market and restructure it and after they will return back again and occupy comfortable shops. But within me, the time frame given to the traders was short. At least if it is one month, it should be better”, he added.
Mr. Muo also said that the deputy Governor left and later came back again in the company of Onitsha South Council chairman, Mr. Emeka Orji with other entourage and reiterated that Odu-Igbo market would be restructure. He said that Governor would bring the plan.
He added, “So, I summoned meeting with market leaders and told them that they should photocopy their shop allocation paper and bring to my office so that after the restructuring, the rightful owners could claim their shops.
“During the meeting, some agreed what I told them, some disagreed while some resorted in cursing Government. I later also summoned men who have shops at upstairs and told them the same information they began to curse me. But when I noticed danger I called security to wage them.
“What they did was to instigate women to stage protest and that was the first protest they staged. They were calling me thief, chanting my name that I want to demolish their market. I documented it and sent to Awka”
Mr. Muo also explained that the deputy Governor summoned another meeting at Awka which both all the Market leaders attended included Odu-Igbo Market.
“During the meeting, the deputy Governor made it clear that Government wants to restructure Odu-Igbo and modernize it not demolition. He said that the market is so dirty. So, I told the chairman of Odu-Igbo that you have heard it by yourself and when you go back you can now tell your people.
“So, I never for one day thought of planning how to demolish their market rather I was giving them information from government but they misunderstood me. Who am I to object government decision. I have no special interest in building project but I strictly adhere to government directives. It was those men occupying stores upstairs that were instigating women to stage protest but it should have been better if they carry the protest to Awka not here.
“They even wrote petition against me, saying that I boasted to make money more than previous Ochanja chairmen and that is why I can never adhere to bad things so that I make the money I vowed to make. They equally said that the reason for the protest was to blackmail me before the government so they will remove me and put another person who could stop the restructuring plan and never to remember it again”, Muo explained further.