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By Juliana Nwachukwu :

The President General (PG), Anambra State Markets Amalgamated Traders Association ( ASMATA), Chief Humphrey Anuna, has inaugurated the new executive of United Petrochemical Dealers and Crushers Association of Nigeria, headed by Mr Onyekachi Nwafor as Chairman.

Inaugurating them at the ASMATA Secretariat on  February 22, the ASMATA PG charged them to live by their oath of office and avoid acts capable of dragging them to ridicule, adding that they should key into Gov. Chukwuma Soludo’s move to restore the lost glory of the markets.

“You should be your brother’s keeper by telling your fellow traders the truth and see yourselves as partners in progress which is the APGA slogan of ‘Onyeaghana Nwanne ya”, he pleaded.

In his post inaugural speech, the new Chairman of the Association, Chief Nwafor, said, “What is expected from us now is that we will unite all the members of the market and make sure we follow government directive.

“We need mobile fire service which we were promised to get. We need permanent site that will accommodate the whole traders,” he noted.

On the allegation that the association deals on fake products, he denied the allegation saying, “We don’t produce or sell fake products, we sell processed products, that is already processed petrochemicals,” he affirmed.

“I will handle our opposition as ourselves and if any case that requires the attention of ASMATA leadership, I will kindly surrender to ASMATA to keep a clean hand.

“Once such case is beyond my settlement, I will involve central body of ASMATA to handle it for us. We come to support government,” he assured.

He, however, admitted  that touts exist in the market, saying that they normally dealt with them when they misbehaved, warning, that now they are officially elected and inaugurated, they now have full power to tackle them appropriately.

“There is anti tout squad set up by state government, we will get their phone numbers to work with them toward fighting the touts,” he further added.

On the performance of the ASMATA PG since he assumed office, the new chairman said, “God is using him on the traders. He doesn’t  discriminate whether you are rich or poor. Any problem you have, he will listen to you and solve it for peace to reign . There is peace in the market since he assumed office. We are happy that God gave him to us”.

Speaking, Mr Steven Uka, the Secretary of the market, added, “I promise that I will fully support the chairman, we are one body and will be working together to be in unity in order to get what we are fighting for. 

“Before I was made the secretary, all of them knew me as a peace maker and trust worthy fellow, so if there is any opposition, we will join hands together to tackle them and we will take them as one of us, with time they will change from their bad ways, that’s our belief.

“Soludo is a solution to Anambra State problem, he is doing very well to Ndi Anambra. We are in full support of his work,” he said.

Also, the Assistant secretary, Mr Adolphus Udeh, added, “I am the assistant secretary of the market. We are solidly behind our chairman, if you know the nature of business we are doing, you know that whoever that abandons his machine and goes out, will lose a lot of things, but we wouldn’t mind, we will support him to be here,” he pledged.

*Juliana is of the Ministry of Information, Anambra State


By Uzo Ugwunze :

The Anambra State Market Amalgamated Traders Association (ASMATA) has urged traders who transact business in various Shopping Plazas in the State to defy the purported fear of the unknown gunmen or hoodlums and resume their normal businesses on Mondays.

Speaking during a meeting with Shopping plaza Chairmen and Secretaries at Onitsha on February 19, the President General (PG), ASMATA, Chief Humphrey Anuna reminded the plaza executives on the huge losses being incurred by both individuals and government because of no full business activities every Monday in Anambra and entire South East.

He said that Gov. Chukwuma Soludo who has the interest of Ndi Anambra has been using the tax payers money judiciously having almost completed about 400km roads among other interventions and projects.

“Soludo is working. Last time when Soludo empowered youths, many traders in the market benefited but people from the plaza could not submit any names because you were secluding yourselves.

“Let us unite together, sit up and support Soludo’s government because he is a good and very intelligent man that has the interest of the masses.

“His Excellency hosted a meeting for market leaders and joint task force comprising the Military, Police and AVS and they promised to be patrolling every Monday near the markets and plazas in case of any eventuality. 

“So, you leaders should organize yourselves under one umbrella and select a 7 -man committee that will be part of ASMATA leadership meetings so that traders doing business in plazas all over the state can enjoy other privileges which include defending yourselves against multiple taxation from illegal revenue contractors.

“Plazas are Incorporated in ASMATA constitution and nobody will take you serious if you put up any official document without ASMATA letter headed paper. 

“Also, remember never to remit any revenue to even I or anyone in cash because all payments are done through the bank with the ANSSID number generated for your own plaza,” Anuna said.

Moreover, Chief Anuna with the support of plazas executives appointed the duo of Engr. Samuel Nwankwo, Manager of Emeka Offor plaza and Mr Chris Nwadilibe of the Young Shall Grow plaza to organize a meeting for all the plazas from major cities in Anambra as soon as possible for further information.

Earlier during the interactive session, Mr Chinedu Udemba of Atlantic plaza Nkpor, Simon Onwe of Ike Dunukofia plaza, Afam Nwagu of Collymart plaza after expressing the fear of endangering the lives of the traders said that plaza owners were also afraid of their plaza being burnt down by hoodlums.

They thanked the ASMATA PG for extending the opportunity for plaza traders to participate in ASMATA affairs and to defend the plazas from intimidation and exploitation,  saying that this was the first of its kind.

According to Engr. Nwankwo of Emeka Offor plaza, 50 percent of plaza traders are ready to open for businesses on Mondays but they need to be convinced that government will provide adequate security both at the markets, plazas and roads leading from residential buildings to the plazas.

Nwankwo further requested for the ASMATA constitution and guidelines to enable the plaza traders to participate fully in the ASMATA affairs, urging the PG to ensure that plaza traders have enabling environment for business without interference from touts with many so called authorization form both LG Secretariat and State Government.

Moreso, Ochiagha Chukwunonso of Bethel plaza Niger Street, Onitsha eulogized Soludo for channeling the tax payers money into visible projects like the newly constructed road network within Fegge Onitsha.

He further suggested that  South Eastern Governors should go to Aso Rock, Abuja and demand for the unconditional release of the IPOB leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu instead of increasing the number of security agents in the state which may scare citizens from going about their normal businesses.

*Uzo is of the Ministry of Information, Anambra State

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