Women protests in Onitsha, politically motivated—Obiano’s aide
The Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) collectors in Nnewi North Local Government Area of Anambra State, yesterday, escaped mob attack as they clashed with owners of business centres near Izuchukwu Junction.
Trouble started when the revenue agents approached owners of about fifteen shops and allegedly demanded that they should pay their IGR which the business operators claimed they had already paid into the bank and some to the local government council.
According to the protesting small scale business owners, the revenue collectors rejected the evidence of payment pasted on their various shops, arguing that they should have paid through an ATM system to the bank as newly introduced by the state government.
But the business owners insisted that since the money they paid was into government bank account they should not be requested to make another payment. Besides, the business owners claimed that those on the revenue drive told them that they were previously under assessed. This aggravated their (business owners) anger.
Meanwhile, in a similar development, the Senior Special Adviser to Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State on Political matters, Mr. Arinzechukwu Awogu, yesterday, described the protests by women traders in Onitsha over the closure of fruit and vegetable market along Silas Works roads as politically motivated ,
According to him, he described the protest which he said was “hugely uncalled for” as an orchestration of some individuals poised to score cheap political point.
According to him, “These are people who are defiling government directive and are being deceived by their former landlords. They have completely blocked the Silas Works and Port Harcourt Roads by their illegal trading activities there and no sane government will allow such to take place. The new site is large enough to accommodate all the fruits and vegetables traders. There is security there and essential facilities are provided for the traders”.
“Coercive power is at the discretion of government. No one serves the interest of the people more than government, and as such, government at all times knows what is of the best interest of the people; the opinion of a few selfish individuals is hugely inconsequential. Markets in recorded history have been relocated not because it suits the traders or interests at play, but because it is considered necessary by government” Awogu stated.
“When Electronics dealers were relocated it wasn’t without resistance, so was Building materials dealers and others, but government rebuffed all entreaties to relocate them and today government is justified for the relocation. The Ogbaru Fruits and Vegetable Market mustn’t be different. The market is long overdue for relocation”.
“They gave us demand notice that we should pay to the bank. The money ranges from N4,000 to N30,000 depending on the size of your shop. And we paid. But they came this afternoon to say that we were not properly assessed and did not pay the right way.
They came with armed police men and began to gather our property including generators and whatever they saw in our shops. That instigated commotion. We were only saved by sympathisers who came to our rescue, confronted them, and recovered our property. There was a fracas and only God saved the situation otherwise there would have been a blood bath,” spokesman of the business operators, Mr Sunday Anolue explained.