Yuletide: Onitsha Markets’ Leaders Ban Okada


Markets’ leaders in Onitsha, the commercial nerve centre of the South-East, have banned commercial motorcyclists from entering their markets during the Christmas season.

A correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), who went round the major markets in Onitsha on Monday, reports that the commercial motorcyclists popularly known as ‘okada’ have been asked to stop at least 500 metres from the entrances to the markets by the vigilante group in each of the markets.

The markets visited included; Main Market, Head-Bridge Markets, Ogbaru Main Market, Ogbu Efere Market, Osa Market, Ochanja Market and Marine Modern Market.

Mr. Vincent Ifeme, Chairman, Marine Modern Market, told NAN that the ban was one of the security measures adopted by market leaders in order to safe-guard customers from hoodlums, who operate with motorcycles.

Ifeme said that customers had been advised to withdraw their cash in banks in the markets and immediately convert their cash to goods by making purchases.

“We are trying our best to make sure that there is in-flow and out-flow of vehicles and those that are moving on foot.

“Actually, we have already stopped okada from entering the market. And I have already shown you the security-man positioned from where okada can penetrate the market.

“So, we are ever ready. No crime will take place here because our security and our taskforce men are on the ground; ready to wage any war from outsiders or within.”

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On the new traders’ tax payment procedure; Ifeme said that it was a welcome development in order for government to get its targeted revenue and use same to implement developmental projects in the markets.

“Gov. Obi is a businessman; when he applies one method, and it doesn’t work, he applies the other one.

“So, we, the market leaders, have been asking him to hand over these things to the market leaders since you do not see anything after the contractors collect the money.

“We asked him to let us be able to do it in a particular way; we urged him to use us who are on the ground to do it; and that is exactly what we are doing.

“Now we call the traders, ringing bell in the markets every now and then for them to be able to pay.

“So it is going on in my market now, so we are using the people on the ground; the line chairmen and secretaries are now collecting it.”

NAN recalls that each trader is to pay N3,000 tax per head for a year; while there is also stallage fee of N1,800 and development levy of N1,200.

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