Aloysius Attah, Onitsha
Civil society groups, traders, politicians and other stakeholders in Anambra State have condemned the closure of markets in the state to pave way for the presidential campaign rally of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), which held at Dr Alex Ekwueme Square, Awka.
The Civil Liberties Organization (CLO) in a statement by its state Chairman, Comrade Vincent Ezekwueme, described the APGA government’s action as a breach of the fundamental rights of the traders, reminding it that not everyone in the state belongs to APGA.
CLO estimated that traders in the state might have lost a whopping N500m following the market closure, demanding that the government should tender an unreserved apology to the traders over its action.
“The action is against the traders’ (interest) because this is a critical time when they are having quick sales prior to Christmas. Moreover, the government cannot force traders to close (their) shops because it wants to flag off a campaign whereas there is freedom of association; everybody does not belong to APGA.
A businessman and Coordinator of ‘Naturecracy for Atiku/Peter Obi Support Movement (NAPSUM), Chief Peter Okala, described government action as “insensitive to the plight of the citizens.”
“There are certain actions that are anti-people. Government forgot that many people earn their daily bread selling in the markets. Today, such people have been denied their means of livelihood yet, the same government wants them to vote it.”
A member of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Ikem Njoku, warned that “unless APGA turns a new leaf by considering the interest of the people first before taking any action, we in APC will sack them in 2019. APC will win the National Assembly and state House of Assembly seats too.
“I was in my shop at Ose Okwodu market in Onitsha, when the market announcer started proclaiming that markets would be shut as APGA was flagging of its campaign ahead of 2019 general elections. Then I asked those who were with me what my take in that was.
“Is that why we would not open our markets even when we do not belong to APGA?”