George Onyejiuwa, Owerri
Hundreds of angry Market women on Friday barricaded the main entrance to the Imo State House in protest over the alleged sale of their fruit and vegetable market by the Chairman of Owerri Municipal Council.
This is even as the Chairman of the Interim Management council of Owerri Municipal Council, Mr. Ambrose Nkwodimmah said that no amount of protest will stop the council from going ahead with its planned development of the market.
The women who were clutching green leaves and placards as they sang solidarity songs barricaded the Government House in protest.
Speaking to Journalists, the Chairperson of the market women ,Mrs Charity Samuel said that they are protesting the alleged sale of their fruit and vegetable market allocated to the traders in 2017 by the government of Rochas Okorocha by the Ambrose Nkwodimmah, the council chairman of Owerri Municipal Council in collusion with the Umuodu Community in Owerri Municipal Council.
She also alleged that the council Chairman has been using thugs to harass and intimidate the women from doing their business at the market.
According to her:”we are protesting the selling of the Relief Fruit and vegetable market. When Okorocha demolished Ekeukwu Owerri we relocated to the old stadium but the government of Rochas Okorocha transfered the fruit and vegetable and we paid for the allocation and since 2017 we have been paying monthly to the the council this is the fruit and vegetable market in Owerri Municipal Council.
She added, when we were allocated the market we did the clearing with our money and now the same council have sold the market without our knowledge. But we will not allow that”.
The chairperson who called on Governor Hope Uzodimma to save them from the hands of the council Boss who is hellbent from disrupting their peaceful business.
” We are appealing to Governor Hope Uzodimma to save us from the wickedness of the Owerri Municipal council Chairman who has vowed to chase us out from a market that was allocated the fruit and vegetable dealers in the Owerri metropolis. We laboured to make the place what it is today from the bush it used to be when it allocated to us by Governor Rochas Okorocha for which we and haved continued to pay market tax on “.
However, the Chairman of Owerri Municipal council, Hon . Ambrose Nkwodimmah said that the market women cannot stop the council for its planned development of the market .
” We cannot stop the development of the market because already the Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Hon . Kingsley Ononauju has approved the plans to build shopping plaza .
It is a portion of the free zone that is being used for the project and not entire market. So, I don’t know what they protesting about