From Aloysius Attah, Onitsha
The Attorney General of Anambra State, Prof. Sylvia Ifemeje, Commissioner for Trade, Commerce and Wealth Creation, Dr Obinna Ngonadi, Trustees of Electronics Dealers Association, Onitsha, immediate past President of the market, Chief Izuchukwu Okoye, President of Anambra State Amalgamated Traders Association, Chief Ikechukwu Ekwegbalu and the 11 man caretaker committee of Electronics International Market led by Ifeanyi Egwuene, Onitsha are presently at the risk of facing jail terms or committal to prison for disobeying an Anambra State High Court Order by setting up a caretaker committee for the Onitsha Electronics Market against the order of the court to maintain the status quo pending the determination of the suit.
The Anambra High Court sitting in Atani, Ogbaru, on August 5, 2022, issued Form 48 Notice of Consequences of Disobedience order of the court to the underlisted persons.
The court had in form 48 said, “Take notice that unless you obey the direction contained in this order you will be guilty of contempt of court and will be liable to be committed to prison.”
The lingering crisis over the election of new executives for the Onitsha electronics market took a new dimension following the sudden government cancellation of an earlier planned election in the market slated for 23rd July 2020 after interested parties in the market had bought forms and paid the various prescribed fees for various elective positions.
The Anambra State government through the Ministry of Commerce cancelled the election citing an executive order by the Governor suspending elections in Anambra markets.
But before then , some dissatisfied traders in the market who got wind of government’s plan, went to Ogbaru High Court sitting in Atani presided over by Justice A.O.Okuma and sought an interim injunction restraining the respondents and their agents from constituting and setting up a caretaker committee to run the affairs of the market.
Though the presiding Judge ordered all parties to maintain the status quo pending the determination of the suit.
However, on the 29th of July 2022, in defiance of the court order, an 11-man caretaker committee was inaugurated in Awka and subsequently unveiled in the market on 2nd August 2022.
Two stakeholders in the market, Bonny Nze and Chinedu Placid Njoku who spoke to reporters yesterday in Onitsha over the development said all the aggrieved traders in the market have vowed to pursue the struggle till government respects the rights of the traders to chose who leads them.
They reiterated that the caretaker committee set up lacks the mandate to run the affairs of the traders in the market even as they expressed surprise that some people in the Soludo administration were bent tarnishing the image of the government by trampling on court rulings.