Scores of traders, predominantly widows on Friday, protested alleged plot by leadership of Onitsha South Local Government Area headquarters, Anambra State, to eject them from Oduigbo section of the Ochanja Central market.
The protesters, carrying placards with various inscriptions accused Council chairman, Emeka Orji of collaborating with chairman of the market, Chief Bonaventure Muo to eject them in the guise of building modern shops.
Some of the placards read, “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 he ones they have”, among others.
Speaking to reporters at the council headquarters’ entrance, leader of the protesters, Chief Chukwudi Eke appealed to Governor Chukwuma Soludo to come to their rescue.
He said, “The market chairman, Chief Muo and the council chairman, gave us two days to vacate the market or they will use carterpillars 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 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.
“We plead to Soludo to come to our rescue as no other person will understand our predicament except him as Nwa Mgbafor.”
Also reacting, spokesperson of the widows, Mrs Ifeoma Emeka, lamented that widows that constitute majority of the traders in the market were being treated like slaves.
“80 copper cent of the traders here are widows who irk their living from here. The market leadership should not see us as slaves but people who are catering for their families as bread winners since the death of their husbands.
“The shops they want to demolish are modern shops and we are ready to renovate them by ourselves if asked to do so,” she pleaded.
Council chairman, Emeka Orji, when contacted, declined comment on the issue but the Ochanja market chairman, Chief Muo, said he was working on government instructions
“The Government wants to restore sanity in the market and ensure those in the streets are brought into the markets. What the Government is doing is for their own good.
“We want to avoid accidents and street trading which is constituting nuisance to the state. We are not sacking them rather to better their environment,” he stated.
In their separate contributions, Chief Calistus Ahanonu, patron, Angus Ekemezie, youngest patron, Oyeka Abazu, stakeholder and Mrs Pauline Ejezie, urged Governor Soludo to come to their rescue.
Pics show the protesters Friday at the council local Govt headquarters.