From Jeff Amechi Agbodo, Onitsha and Godwin Tsa, Abuja
Anambra government has banned political rallies and campaigns in market across the state.
Commissioner for Trade and Commerce, Uchenna Okafor, said the stance of the state government was that market environment should never be used for political rallies or campaigns to avoid crisis.
Okafor, who spoke during a meeting with stakeholders and market leaders at the head of service (HoS) office conference hall, state secretariat, Awka, also alerted market leaders to be vigilant due to security challenges facing the state in recent times.
He said: “There are diverse political interests in the markets, and some politicians will want to take advantage of traders and their markets. They should not be allowed into markets to avoid causing confusion.
“What is happening is so dangerous that security agents are killed and their arms taken away. In two incidents at Awkuzu and Nneni, some security agents were killed.
“If such happens in a market environment, casualties will be so much. The weapons carted away by gunmen who perpetrated the crimes may be used to commit other crimes.
“Anambra State has been the most peaceful and safest state in Nigeria, but when security agents that have given us that success are attacked and dislodged, we are in danger,’’ he said.
He called on market executive committees to sensitise traders in their markets to be security conscious; to monitor movements in and around their markets and report any suspicious movements to the police.
Okafor called on markets leadership without boreholes, fire hydrants and good access roads to forward their requests to the government.
On the fire incidents in markets, the commissioner said the government would want to spend more money on prevention of fire outbreaks than in compensating victims.
He said the government had set up a committee to look into the fire outbreak at the Nnewi Timber Market.
Responding, President of Anambra State Market Amalgamated Traders Association, Ikechukwu Ekwegbalu, cautioned market executive members to provide fire extinguishers in their various markets as previously agreed before asking for other fire fighting equipment such as water hydrants and fire trucks in the markets.
Meanwhile, Son of the first female governor in Nigeria, Emeka Etiaba, has officially joined the November 6 governorship race in Anambra State on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
He was accompanied by his wife, Joy, and his supporters to the Wadata House National Secretariat of PDP in Abuja, where he picked the expression of interest and nomination form.
Etiaba, Senior Advocate of Nigeria, joined the race as the PDP seventh governorship aspirant in the state.
While presenting a copy of the expression of interest and nomination form to Etiaba, PDP National Organising Secretary, Austin Akobundu, described him as a good politician who has the interest of the party at heart.
He said his entry into the race was a clear response to the party’s clarion call for young and vibrant people to join politics.
While acknowledging that Etiaba was qualified to contest the governorship, Akobundu said the party will provide an equal and conducive environment for aspirants as each one of them will be treated equally.
Etiaba promised to make Anambra great again if he becomes the next governor.
“The situation in Anambra today calls for a strong, brave, resilient, humble and focused visionary leader who will harness its potential while solving the myriad of problems bedevilling the state,” he said.