David Onwuchekwa, Nnewi
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of KOTEC Group of Companies, Chief Chika Emelike, a major player in importation of motorcycles and tricycles spare parts at Nkwo Nnewi market, Nnewi, Anambra State has sent a save-our-soul message to regulatory authorities over piracy at the market.
Chief Emelike said pirated products had continued to spring up at an alarming rate at the market to impoverish genuine importers of the auto components whose businesses dwindled on a daily basis as a result of the activities of the pirates.
He likened piracy at the market to the HIV/AIDS virus that had made some genuine importers to begin to count their days in import business.
He noted that the most regrettable aspect of it was that the government had not taken any stringent measure to handle the situation.
“The worst aspect of it was that the pirates go for the lowest quality with the genuine importer’s product’s name. And the more they reduce the quality, the more they bring down the prices. They try, at least, to get 80 per cent of the genuine importer’s packaging to convince the unsuspecting buyers.
“Mechanics who use those pirated spare parts to repair motorcycles or tricycles will always have problems with their clients because they will be accused of not doing the job well. Such automobiles are likely to cause accidents. Most of the accidents you see on our roads are caused by fake spare parts and many have lost their lives in such auto crashes,” Chief Emelike said.
He said that it also affected the economy of the nation since the pirates would pay manufacturers overseas to get the fake goods “but if the pirated products are impounded by regulatory authorities, they will be burnt.”
Emelike explained that pirates at Nkwo Nnewi would monitor the products of big-time importers and when they discovered that a product has a high demand, they would take the product and its package to overseas and ask the manufacturer to give them the same quality with far less quality.
He said that genuine spare parts importers would travel abroad to negotiate with the manufacturers for the best quality products, do some advertisements, including supplying customers the goods on credit for them to experience the quality.
Debts from such supplies, he said, were not always recovered by the genuine importer in order to allow the product to penetrate the market and be generally accepted “only for the pirates to go to the manufacturers overseas, and rubbish another importer’s efforts with substandard products.”
Even though the business mogul said that the Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON) tried its best possible to checkmate piracy at the market, he still believed that the regulatory body could do much better if it wanted to do so.
He alleged that some unscrupulous government officials whose duty it is to fight piracy would be busy scrambling for what they would be given at the point of entry of those pirated products – the wharf.
He noted that the government seemed not to have understood the great damage piracy had done to Nigeria’s economy “and that is why it is treated with kid’s glove.”
Chief Emelike called for stringent measures to save many import businesses at Nkwo Nnewi from going bankrupt.
He is of the opinion that pirates should begin to go to jail when caught “and not a situation where they fight back with the money they raked from piracy.”
He said that if suspects could be arrested, prosecuted and imprisoned it would serve as deterrent to others.
Chief Emelike noted that many are on hospital beds today as a result of either consuming adulterated products or being involved in accidents as a by-product of pirated spare parts.
Inasmuch as government has not folded its hands over that, according to him, efforts should be doubled through new legislations to fight piracy across the country.
Illegal slaughterhouses selling unhygienic meat, Nnewi butchers raise alarm
David Onwuchekwa, Nnewi
Over three illegal and unapproved slaughterhouses allegedly operate in Nnewi, selling unhygienic meat to unsuspecting consumers.
Newly elected Chairman of Nkwo Nnewi Butchers Association, Mr Kirian Okafor revealed at the weekend in an interview on the activities and problems of the butchers.
Mr Okafor was elected last June to pilot the affairs of the association for the next four years after the successful tenures of Chief Amobi Nnoruka.
According to the butchers, the government should investigate the locations of those unapproved slaughterhouses with a view to clamping down on them to sanitize meat business and ensure the credibility of the dealers.
Okafor named the government approved slaughter areas as the ones located at Nkwo Nnewi, Obinsoedo Okpunoegbu and Oyeagbo.
He said that those three locations were still battling to meet up with required standards with the help of the government and wondered how the unapproved slaughterhouses could cope in terms of standard.
Okafor said that his association is ready to assist the government in sanitizing the system if given the power for the interest of meat consumers.
He explained that the association discovered that some of the meat dealers even slaughtered animals at their houses where nobody inspected the sanitary condition and brought the meat to buyers.
According to him, veterinary doctors always come around before any cow could be slaughtered at Nkwo Nnewi slaughterhouse to ensure that the animal was fit for human consumption, a situation he said was not observed at the unauthorized slaughter places.
He said that government should take a critical look at the activities of the butchers operating at illegal slaughterhouses to save meat consumers from health hazards.
He, however, appealed to the government to fulfill its promise of building a modern slaughter house for butchers at Nkwo Nnewi as done in Awka, having taken the measurements of Nkwo Nnewi’s slaughterhouse.
Okafor said at the moment the association has tried as much as possible on a daily basis to keep the existing slaughterhouse at Nkwo Nnewi clean and appealed to the government to assist them with high capacity power generator to easily access water needs from the borehole.
He also said that for over a long period of time, the meat dealers had no toilet facility and access road to the market place.
The association, he said, had been receiving promises from the government over its demand for those facilities and appealed for their fulfillment.
He said that his administration would focus on peace and dedication to God to achieve a sustainable development.
Onitsha Bridge-Head Market: Traders protest, call for cancellation of election
Aloysius Attah, Onitsha
Traders of the popular Bridge-Head Market, Onitsha yesterday protested against the conduct of the May 28, market election, which allegedly produced Mr Sunday Obinze as the President-General of the market.
The traders numbering about 3,000 carried placards with the inscription: “Dissolve Bridge-Head Market Executives for Peace to Reign in the Market”, “AMATAS has been dissolved, it is now time for dissolution of the product of AMATAS”, “ Commissioner, stop disobeying court order”, “Bridge-Head Traders must be fully involved in market affairs,” among others as they marched through Uga Street/Onitsha/Asaba Express Road, Niger Street and Port-Harcourt Road in Onitsha.
They called on the Commissioner for Commerce, Trade and Wealth Creation, Dr Christian Madubuko to disregard the purported market election of May 28, which produced the incumbent President-General of the market.
Speaking to newsmen during the protest, the protest leaders, Sir Peter Okala and Chief Chukwudi Ekwueme who are Chain Saw and Allied Products Dealers Association BOT Chairman and Central Board of Trustees Secretary of the market respectively accused the disbanded Anambra State Markets Amalgamated Traders Association officials (AMATAS) and Dr Madubuko of conducting what they described as “Kangaroo election” in Bridge-Head market on May 28, this year despite an Onitsha High Court order by Justice F. Onyefulu restraining any party or her agents from going ahead with the purported election.
The two market leaders who pleaded with Governor Willie Obiano to look into the activities of the commissioner asked him to use his powers to denounce the purported election of Bridge-Head market executives as it was in flagrant disobedience to an order of a competent court of the land, which was yet to be vacated by same or any other superior court.
Some market unions in the area had gone to court to stop the election of Bridge-Head market central executive pending the settlement of some issues bothering on the market election and welfare of traders.
However, it was gathered that the commissioner and officials of now disbanded AMATAS went ahead to conduct the said election.
When our correspondent contacted Dr Madubuko, he denied receiving any court order restraining his ministry from supervising the said election.
He further said that in view of the expiration of the tenure of the executives there was no need for a leadership vacuum.
One of the litigants and Chairman, Board of Trustees (BOT) Surgical and Science Equipment and Allied Products Dealers Association, one of the unions that make up the central body, Chief Cyprian Umeh (CIWA) said that all that was needed to restore peace in the market was the recognition of the October, 2014 Consent Agreement which all parties, including Sunday Obinze agreed to uphold.
The embattled Chairman of Bridge Head Market, Sunday Obinze when contacted described those behind the agitation as non-traders whose antecedents for mischief are well known.
He said that even if the election is cancelled tomorrow, he will still win in a landslide, describing the people as attention seekers.
Ogbaru wine dealers vow to flush out fake products traders
Aloysius Attah, Onitsha
The chairman of Marketers of Local and Foreign Drinks Association, Ogbaru in Ogbaru Local Government Area of Anambra State, a suburb of Onitsha, Mr Ifeanyi Michael Ugwu, has vowed to flush out those trading on fake, substandard and expired drinks in their market.
The chairman who spoke during the seventh anniversary of the association assured that with the support of Anambra State government and security operatives in the state they would sanitise the market.
He commended Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State for his commitment in securing the lives and property of Anambra people and the development of markets in the state.
The chairman also commended the tireless efforts of the state Commissioner for Commerce, Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr Christian Madubuko, saying that his members would continue to cooperate with the commissioner and his ministry to ensure peace and stability in the market.
Ugwu also promised that his members would continue to cooperate with the state government by paying the approved taxes and levies as at when due.
He pleaded with Governor Obiano to rebuild their broken fence near Aba Park to barricade drug peddlers, addicts and other hoodlums from straying into their market.
He thanked the President of Ogbaru Main Market, Chief Victor Nwawuzie and members of his executives for the way they have been carrying the traders along in the market to ensure stability.
Commending the members of the association for their commitment for the success of the body in the last seven years it was registered, the chairman said the anniversary was to express gratitude to God for the way it has led them so far.
Present at the anniversary celebration were the former Chairman of Ogbaru Main Market, Chief Eugene Nwanekezie, the Chairman, Board of Trustees (BoT), MALFDAO, Chief Emeka Orji, Grand Patron, Chief Jeremiah Nwokoye, Patron, Chief Ifezue Uchenna. Others were Lawrence Apeh and Ikechukwu, Nwolisa, Okeagu, Oba, patrons and Geoffrey Ezeobiora, member, BoT.