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MARKET RELOCATION: TRADERS PETITION COAS, IG OVER HARASSMENT

By NBF News
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The running battle between the Abia State Government and some traders in Aba, Abia State, over the traders' relocation to various approved markets in the city has taken a different twist with the traders accusing both the army and police of being weapons in the hands of government officials who harass, intimidate them and circumvent the law.

The state government about a month ago, set up a committee headed by the Security Adviser to Governor Orji, to relocate some street traders to designated markets at Orie Ohabiam, Asannetu and Ehere markets. To enforce the movement, government sealed up the shops of the affected traders.

In the petitions signed by Sir Ike Ogbueli and Elder Nwosu Mba, the traders under the aegis of Abia Organization of Market Associations (AOMA) said, it was unfortunate the soldiers who were sent to Abia by the federal government, to wage war against kidnappers, have now become tools in the hands of government officials to, not only harass and intimidate them, but to seal up their shops against all known conventional laws.

The petitions read in part, 'Unfortunately your men, who accompany these people (Abia state government officials), who unlawfully lock up our members shops, warn that they (soldiers and police) will deal with we traders if we attempt to regain possession of the said shops even if it is to have access to our goods locked inside.

'The Aba community has continued to hold your men who came here as liberators in high esteem for the good works they have been doing.

It will however be an aberration if, as it is happening now, they allowed their reputation to be dragged into the mud by some government officials, who are out to satisfy their selfish interest.' Some of the traders who later spoke with Daily Sun said, what the security agencies were doing, amounted to backing the state government to send them out of their businesses and to their early graves.

They said that, while some of the markets are far from being completed, others, particularly the Orie Ohabiam market meant for dealers on electronics 'are not habitable.'