Aba traders protest alleged takeover of market by soldiers


Governor Alex Otti of Abia State

By Ihechinyere Chigemeri-Uwom

Traders at the popular Ngwa Road Market, Aba, on Tuesday, organised a peaceful protest at the Abia Government House, Umuahia over the closure of the market allegedly by the Nigerian Army.

The traders, bore placards, with different inscriptions, such as “We are under military siege at Ngwa Road”, “Please Gov. come to our aid”, “We are being intimidated by soldiers”, among others.

The Chairman, Ngwa Road Traders Association, Mr Ikenna Ohanaba, told newsmen that they had been denied access to their shops since May 30.

Ohanaba said: “Since May 30, our businesses have been on lockdown and we cannot access our business places because vehicles and human beings are not allowed within the area.

“This is as a result of the refusal of the military to allow us to have access to our shops.

“We are pleading with the government to intervene and help us out in this situation.”

Also, the Secretary of the association, Mr Chinedu Oforndu, said that about 100 shops in the market had remained shut for two weeks “because soldiers do not allow traders to enter the market.

“It has not been easy for us under this current economic situation to survive without our businesses running.

“The area of the market within Ibere Road to Ukaegbu Road has been the worst hit.

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“We don’t know the actual reason for this action by the military,” Oforndu said.

He called on the State Government to intervene in the matter because their resources were running down and they were finding it to feed their family members.

In a response, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Trade, Commerce and Industry, Chief Nwaka Inem, commended the traders for registering their complaint with the government in a peaceful manner.

“Recall that few weeks ago some soldiers were killed by criminally-minded persons and this has caused military alertness.

“The governor is committed to ensuring that the situation does not escalate.

“The citizens should help to get us credible information to make sure that those people are apprehended and that such things do not reoccur,” Inem said.

He appealed to the traders not to confront the soldiers over the matter and assured them that the government would take urgent steps to address the matter.

A military source, which pleaded anonymity however said, “there is no such thing and no shop was locked by the Nigerian Army”.


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