Picture showing a cross section of the Eke-Awka market women protesting the imposition of a caretaker committee chairman led by ASMATU

Picture showing a cross section of the Eke-Awka market women protesting the imposition of a caretaker committee chairman led by ASMATU

?. Women insist on Agunmadu
By ABUCHI IFESINACHI, AWKA
The Eke-Awka market in Awka has been thrown into crisis following the emergence of two parallel bodies claiming leadership of the market.
The Anambra State Amalgamated Traders Association (AMATAS) and the Awka South Amalgamated Traders Association Union (ASMATU) are both at logger heads on who controls the market.
Subsequently, commercial activities were?on Monday?briefly halted by some women who took to the streets to protest what they termed ?imposition of caretaker chairman? by ASMATU group.
Speaking to newsmen, the leader of the protesters and Anambra Market Women leader, Mrs Chinwe Ezigwe, said that they only recognize Chief Emeka Agunmadu who was duly elected as the market chairman.
?The reason for the protest is that intruders want to take charge of the market, knowing fully well that the market is registered and under the care of Anambra State Government.
?They want to force themselves on the market to collect levies and use their authority to collect N500 from each shop and space owner daily.
?They have equally threatened to destroy some shops to pave way for road.
?We don?t want anybody to take charge of the market especially someone who does not have any shop or stall or even trade in the market to become our leader,? Ezigwe said.
The protest followed an Awka High Court order made on Sept. 10 by Justice C.A. Emembolu restraining Agunmadu from conducting further the affairs of the market.
When contacted, the AMATAS chairman, Eke-Awka branch, Chief Agunmadu, expressed surprise that after being elected on?July 17, Mr Christian Chinwuko was still parading himself as the caretaker chairman.
?I have met with the traditional ruler of Awka, Igwe Gibson Nwosu and written a petition to the Police over threat to my life as well as impersonation by Chinwuko,? he said.
Reacting however, the President-General of ASMATU, Mr Anayo Nweke, who obtained the court order restraining Agunmadu, said that Agunmadu had long seized to be the leader of the market.
?Agunmadu?s tenure as caretaker committee chairman of the market had since expired.
?The action of the women who protested today amounts to contempt of the court and we will take further legal action against them,? Nweke said.
Meanwhile, the chairman of Awka South local council area, Mr Azubuike Iloh, has denied being involved in the crisis, saying that he had never at any time engaged his men to collect any levy from the market.
?I do not need to join issues with anybody.
?I am aware that a high court order was already served on my council stating that the leadership of the market had been changed but I have not seen it.
?If there is a court order, it should be obeyed, otherwise you go for an appeal or stay of execution if you are not satisfied,? he said.
Iloh said that his council was not collecting any levy from the market as a white paper from government was still being expected on the issue of levies in the market.

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