Traders in the Balogun Business Association, International Shopping Mall, Lagos International Trade Fair, Lagos turned out in their numbers to protest the incessant arrest and harassment of its president, Chief Tony Obih.
Those who participated in the protest include five former presidents of the association namely: Hon. Anslem Dunu, Prince Tony Akanegbu, Brother Leonard Ogbonna and Chief Alex Obi-Odunukwe.
According to the traders, the president had gone to Abuja on the invitation of the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu over alleged forgery of their constitution, but on his way back to Lagos, he was picked up inside the Murtala Mohammed Airport, by the police and taken to Zone 2.
The placards that the traders used for the protests had various inscriptions like: “Police stop harassing our president.” “We are tired of police arrest and intimidation of our president.” “We stand by Tony Bell.” “Okey Ezibe should leave BBA alone”.
Addressing the mammoth traders after the demonstration, the former presidents of the association said that going by the prevailing circumstances, the current President Tony Obih has no reason whatsoever to forge any document because he is the one leading the fight for the registration of the new constitution at the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).
The former presidents said that it must be those who are against the registration of the new constitution with the CAC that must have forged the contentious document in the constitution.
Hon. Dunu argued that if he was not sure that the hand of the current president is clean with regards to the issue at stake, he would not have been part of the protest.
He said that the purpose of the authors of the petition against the current president was just to embarrass him.
He noted that the bone of contention was who would be what in the new constitution.
Chief Dunu said that the cheap rumour making the rounds that the current president forged the contentious document was absolute lies because there was no reason for him to do so.
In his contribution, Prince Tony Akanegbu said that the stakeholders are the owners of the market and not an individual.
According to him, the new constitution is the will of the traders in the market, adding that by the constitution, the incumbent president is the chairman of the Board of Trustees of the market and would also be presiding over the other organs of the market.
Prince Akanegbu said that the traders should not allow somebody who no longer has any stake in the market because he is now investing somewhere else to be brainwashing them to be causing crisis in the market.
Also contributing, the first President of Balogun Business Association, Brother Leonard Ogbonna, expressed regret over what is going on in the market.
He said that it was him that organized the writing of the association`s first constitution in Lagos Island.
He disclosed that when they relocated to Lagos International Trade Fair Complex he also initiated the writing of a new constitution since the one they used in Lagos Island had become outdated.
He said that in the constitution of the market, the president, general secretary and treasurer are automatic members of the Board of Trustees and the current president of the market the chairman of the BOT.
New building materials market commissioned in Anambra
David Onwuchekwa, Nnewi
In pursuit of decentralizing markets in Anambra State, a new building materials market has been officially opened in Ogidi, a town in Idemmili North Local Government Area of the state.
Governor Willie Obiano, represented by his Deputy, Dr Nkem Okeke, while declaring the market officially open, called on the market leaders in the state not to relent in their efforts to bring about stability and sustainable development across markets in Anambra.
He praised the efforts of Chief Okwudili Ezenwanko who is now representing Orumba North and South Federal Constituency in the National Assembly whose tenure, as Anambra Markets Amalgamated Traders Association (AMATAS) President General attracted several developments in the markets, one of which was the decentralization of markets in the state, a feat which he said brought about the new building materials market.
Speaking at the event, the Patron of ASMATA and proprietor of Rojenny Tourist Village, Chief Rommy Ezeonwuka described the new and improved market as a welcome development. According to him, the new building materials market would not only be of great benefit to the state, but also to the Anambra people who he said were known widely for their love for trade and commerce.
“I am very happy, knowing that this new market has provided an opportunity to attract more investors and business owners into the state, thereby increasing revenues and encouraging the growth of the state’s economy,” he noted.
Ezeonwuka hailed ASMATA President, Chief Ikechukwu Ekwegbalu for running the affairs of the market associations in the state with dedication and tactfulness.
The multi-million naira market extension was said to have been brought to fruition by communal efforts of the traders to checkmate paucity of business premises for the growing population of apprentices who may be gaining “freedom” from their masters after an agreed period of time, as well as accommodate young men from the Southeast extraction who had suffered business losses as a result of the unending Boko Haram insurgency in the Northeastern part of the country and those who are victims of xenophobic attacks in South Africa.
The traders, however, were not happy that the state government failed to complement their efforts and their request to construct the road, which passes from Onitsha/Enugu expressway to the market extension and environs.
Some of the dignitaries at the event included Chief Ezeonwuka; Lady Pat Okeke, wife of transport mogul, Chief G.U. Okeke, former market leaders and patrons.
I’ll only run Agboedo market association for 6 months –Caretaker chairman
David Onwuchekwa, Nnewi
Caretaker committee chairman of Agboedo United Market Association, Mr Joseph Enumah, has refuted an allegation that he did not want to conduct election for elected officers to take over in the market.
Mr Enumah who was made a caretaker committee chairman of the market in August this year by the Anambra State government told journalists that he was expected to handle the affairs of the market between August 2019 and January 2020 and then conduct election when peace must have returned to the market. He said he would abide by the mandate.
On whether he would contest at the time of election, Mr Enumah said he had no answer to that question as at the time of filing this report.
He said the outgone executive of the association tried its best in the market administration “but they never listened to advice.”
He added: “I’m expected to bring peace and unity to the market. And election will later be conducted. Elected members are to run for four years. Whether I will contest or not is what I cannot say for now.”
He named one of the challenges in the market to include lack of access road to the market, promising that the association would see what it could do as the dry sets in.
He, however, said that the market had adequate security.
One of the stakeholders in the market, Brother Felix Uzochukwu described Mr Enumah as a good leader who had continued to handle the market administration with wisdom.
He cited the fact that Enumah retained all the 21 zonal leaders in the market in his caretaker committee on assumption of duties, to carry everybody along.
According to him, Enumah was only persuaded to accept the offer of caretaker committee chairmanship of the association. He described him as a perfect gentleman who had full support of the traders in his leadership.