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Umunze traders protest forceful relocation to ultra-modern market



TRADERS at Nkwo Umunze, in Orumba North Local Government Area of Anambra State wants government to allow the traditional market to coexist with the ultra-modern international market as it is in other developed towns in the state.

The traders while staging a peaceful protest in the area over what they called an illegal plan to relocate their traditional market to the yet-to-be completed  ultra-modern international market said the two markets would yield more revenue to government if they coexist.

Some of the placards carried by the protesting traders read,  “peoples shops were demolished without any compensation, the masses are suffering,  PG Umunze has failed the masses that elected him.  We stand on the accord of March 17, 2021 with Commissioner for Trade and Wealth Creation, Uchenna Okafor.   Umunze deserves more markets to be like Nnewi and others among many others. 

 Nkwo Umunze can be said to be as old as the town. The traditional market which hitherto comes on stream only on Nkwo  market days grew into a daily market recently following the semi urbanisation of the community.

 Speaking on the recent situation at the market, a trader, Mr Izuu Nwankwo said the traders would like more markets to spring up in the town considering the level of development of the town. “Our town needs more markets to grow and develop like other towns”.

 Another trader, Okey  Nzebafor, who is a one-time chairman of the market said the market leaders and the town union leadership reached an agreement with representatives of the state government on March, this year, for the two markets to coexist but the developer is going contrary to that agreement.

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 Mr Nzebafor stated that traders who used to display their wares on the road due to lack of shops in the traditional market are gradually moving to the ultra-modern market.

“The meat sellers had moved and when they asked  the fish sellers to join them, they followed”

 Mr Ilechukwu Nduchekwe, who is also a trader at  Nkwo Umunze stated that the ultra modern market had not been completed and urged the developer, Mr Ben Oranusi, to complete the structures and earth work at the new market for more people to take up shops there.

“Some of us are ready to take up shops at the market when completed. Other people from other towns will come to trade there and it will be a big market, so let the developer complete it first because as it is, nobody can trade there”.

 He stated that the situation where the developer was using security agents to harass and intimidate the traditional market women  may degenerate into a chaotic situation in the town if not checked.

 A woman leader at the market, Mrs Alice Okeke, said the site of the ultra modern market had not been fully developed for traders to move into it, wondering why the developer was forcing them to relocate to it.

Reacting on the allegations, the developer of the ultra-modern market, Mr. Ben Oranusi denied forcing the traders to relocate, stating that the idea was to check accidents on the road.

 However, at the ultra-modern market,  work was still going on as  the area could be said to be 40% completed.

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