Jeff Amechi Agbodo, Onitsha
The Amalgamated Market Traders Association of Anambra State (AMATAS) has suspended the immediate past President General of the Union, Chief Okwudili Ezenwankwo, as Board of Trustees (BOT) member of the association.
The union said its decision of suspending Chief Ezenwankwo followed his alleged aligning with the state government through its Commissioner for Trade and Commerce to sack the group from its secretariat.
A letter of suspension written to Chief Ezenwankwo, dated 20th July, 2019, titled “Suspension from AMATAS Board of Trustees, signed by acting BOT Chairman, Chief Emma Udegbunam, and Secretary, Chief Chuma Eruchalu, reads: “After a meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Amalgamated Market Traders Association of Anambra State, AMATAS, on Saturday, July 20th 2019, the Board directed us to inform you that you are suspended as a member of the trustees of the association forthwith.
“The Board was constrained to take this decision because of your recent activities of aligning with the State Commissioner for Trade and Commerce and the Anambra State Government to destroy AMATAS.
“You will recall that the Board had taken you and the government to court and cannot be challenging your actions in court and still be meeting with you.
“You will also recall that the Board’s attorney, on the instruction of the trustees had earlier written to you to handover the keys to the AMATAS secretariat to the secretary of the board which you have not done till now. Instead, you arranged with the state Commissioner for Trade and Commerce, to give him the keys anytime he was ready for it according to the commissioner.
“These actions of yours showed that you were in total alliance with the government to destroy AMATAS, which you know too well to be a corporate body, duely registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission.
“All these while, you have not as the immediate past President General of the association, spoken to the State Government against their activities and actions against the association.
“In the light of foregoing and in compliance with Article 18, 3vi of the AMATAS, Constitution, you are hereby suspended with immediate effect.
“It is most unfortunate that you are supporting the destruction of what you laboured so much to build.”
The Anambra State Government through its Commissioner for Trader Commerce and Wealth Creation, had last week Monday disbanded AMATAS and taken over its secretariat after breaking into the building located at 52 Modebe Avenue Onitsha.
The Commissioner had while addressing newsmen after taking possession of the AMATAS Secretariat, otherwise known ‘Traders House’ alleged that the State Government had earlier agreed with Chief Ezenwankwo, that the keys to the Secretariat be handed over by Chief Vincent Ifeme to the State Government anytime they came for it.
The alleged agreement did not go down well with the members of the BOT of AMATAS, hence their suspension of Chief Ezenwankwo, whom they also alleged had never called them, one week after he allegedly planned with the government to hand over their secretariat to government.
But, when contacted Chief Ezenwankwo who is now a member of House of Representatives representing Orumba North and South federal constituency, denied all the allegations leveled against him, saying that he peacefully bowed out of office even before the expiration of his tenure on June 4 against June 30 his tenure supposed was supposed to elapse.
He said that he was not given fair hearing before the board took its decision, saying that the suspension would not hold, or he would go to court to challenge it.
“I led the market association for ten years without any fracas or crisis; where is this suspension coming from? ” Ezenwankwo asked.