Anambra Traders Send SOS To Government Over Alleged Extortion By Market Leaderships
Some traders at New Spare Parts Market, Nkpor, and Ogbo Abada International Market, Onitsha, have accused their market leaderships of mindless extortion.
The traders at the New Spare Parts Market, Nkpor, including the Secretary of New Parts Landlords/ Shop Owners Association, Comrade Edwin Ibeabuchi, Mr. Ikemelu Igwebike and Mrs. Regina Ezeokafor, informed ABS that the market leadership, under Chief Elieus Umeozor imposed a N4, 000 penalty on the traders who were unable to pay the N7,400 government-approved taxes under 24 hours.
Other traders at Abada Textile International Market, Onitsha, including Mr. Anthony Uwaezuoke and Mrs. Maureen Nenanya, said their market leadership, under Chief Basil Ozor increased the government-approved fund from N7, 400 to N9, 400 per shop, adding that over a thousand traders were affected in what he said has been a recurring practice.
The traders claimed that the money being extorted from them are being diverted into private coffers, and called for punitive actions against defaulters, even as they commended Governor Chukwuma Soludo for his efforts in taking the development of the state to the next level.
Reacting to the accusations, the Chairman of Abada Textile International Market, Onitsha, Chief Basil Ozor, explained that the N2,000 added to the N7,400 approved by the government is for those who had not paid for biometric capturing, which is N700 and identity card; which is N1, 300 calling on those peddling rumors of extortion to seek clarifications where necessary.
Chief Ozor expressed readiness to give account of his stewardship, and promised more support of his colleagues at the market to the government.
When contacted on telephone, Chief Umeozor promised to get back to ABS but has not done that.
Since then calls to his phone line, as well as other efforts to get his reactions on the allegations yielded no result.
Reacting to the development, the Coordinator, Anambra Joint Enforcement Team, ANJET, Retired Air Vice Marshal Ben Chiobi, promised that his team will do the needful over the matter.
ANJET is a body charged with the responsibility of stamping out touting and illegal revenue collection in the state.