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Over 2,000 traders who were mostly widows, from Ajasa Street market, yesterday took to the major roads in Onitsha, Anambra State, protesting alleged forceful attempt to merge them with a neighborhood market.
The protesting traders who were led by their woman leader, Mrs Ngozi Ezediniru; their chairman, Chief Chima Ohia, and secretary, Emeka Mba, said that Ajasa Street market had been in existence for a long time. They wondered why the leadership of Oseokwuodu would just wake up to allegedly use force to merge them without their consent as an independently registered street market.
Some of the protesting traders carried placards yearning for the leadership of Oseokwuodu to leave their market alone.
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They called on Governor Charles Soludo, and the state Commissioner for Commerce and Industry to come to their rescue.
Speaking, the woman leader said that they were surprised when on Saturday, some members a vigilance group stormed their market and allegedly started shooting indiscriminately into the air forcing them to run for safety.
‘Some of us sustained various degrees of injuries while the vigilantes told us that once it is 6:00pm everyday must vacate the market as it is now under Oseokwodu market.
“We are independent street traders and we close between 9: 00pm and 10:00pm daily and open about 6.30am daily. This is a residential market that is completely outside Oseokwodu market. We are being intimidated because nobody will speak on our behalf,’ the woman leader said.
Also reacting, Chief Ohia, alleged that the aim was to intimidate them into submission.
When contacted by reporters, the Oseokwodu chairman, Chief Ikechukwu Umeanozie, said that he was a onetime chairman of the Ajasa Street market.