BREAKING: Anambra govt. reopens Odera market, summons chairman

AWKA, Nigeria – Anambra State government has unsealed Odera Shopping Complex//Market Awka after an undertaking from the stakeholders and traders that their Chairman, Emmanuel Nwonwu who had remained incommunicado must appear before the Board of Internal Revenue on Monday.<<<READ FULL ARTICLE>>>

The market was sealed at the weekend, when Task Force of the Anambra State Internal Revenue Service (AIRS) operating as Unified Hybrid Enforcement Team (UHBET) under the leadership of the State Coordinator in-charge of Anambra Central Zone, Evaristus Offor stormed the market to ensure traders’ compliance with market fee/levy payments.

Some traders in a bravado resisted the UHBET officials, arguing that they were not owing the government having paid through their Market leader, who did not issue them receipt.

According to an eye-witness, there was no records of such payments, prompting them to put calls to the Market Chairman, Nwonwu to show up and produce the receipts of the payments.

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However, the calls were not picked and this irked the Task Force to seal the market.

Investigations revealed that it took the intervention of some stakeholders in Odera Market led by the Vice Chairman, Chief Ikechukwu Ugwuoke and the Secretary, Emeka Nwagbala to un-seal the market.

Our source hinted that the re-opening has a condition attached to it, as there was an agreement that the Market Chairman, Nwonwu will appear on Monday, March 4, 2024 before the Task Force at the Revenue House to show evidence of payments as claimed by the traders, failing which the market would be re-sealed.

Speaking to newsmen on the development, Ugwuoke lamented the unfortunate incident, blaming the Chairman of insensitivity to the needs of the traders, worsening their plights, adopting high-handedness to run the affairs of the market and blocking moves to install democratically-elected leaders many years after his tenure expired.

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He expressed dismay with the unforeseen development, as he observed that the unsealing of the market is only tentative as the AIRS officials have threatened to come back and re-seal the market if Nwonwu failed to appear before the Task Force team at the Revenue House, Awka on Monday.

According to him, the Market Chairman has been severally accused by the traders of running the market as a personal affair, without an official bank account and co-signatories as provided by the Constitution of Odera Market.

Contributing, the Secretary – Nwagbala, pioneer Chairman of the Market – Chinweze Ijomah and one-time Chairman of Task Force on Security Fee Collection – Humphrey Onuorah confirmed the claims of some of the traders that they paid their fees/levies to the Chairman for onward transmission to and receipting by government officials, but without getting official receipts thereafter.

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They alleged that Nwonwu was enjoying illegal occupation of office as Chairman after over two years of expiration, arbitrarily collecting revenue without issuance of receipts, being unaccountable and using threats to lives to cow his opponents.

They also called on the State Governor Professor Soludo to use his good offices to appoint a Caretaker Committee to run the market for some months in order to prepare groundworks for election of officers.

The stakeholders and traders also observed that Nwonwu is serving a third term in office whereas the Constitution of Odera Market stipulates a three- year tenure and renewal once.<<<READ FULL ARTICLE>>>