Traders’ Association threatens legal action over ejection
NEWS DIGEST–The Board of Trustees, Amalgamated Markets Traders Association of Anambra State, (AMATAS) has threatened legal action against the state government over the ejection of the association from the secretariat.
AMATAS, the umbrella body of major markets in Anambra State, was suspended by the state government and replaced with Anambra State Markets Amalgamated Traders Association (ASMATA).
The board expressed disappointment over government’s alleged approval of the ejection and replacement with another body that had no contribution towards its existence.
Addressing newsmen yesterday in Onitsha, Chairman, AMATAS BoT, Chief Emma Udegbunam, flanked by his Secretary, Chief Chuma Eruchalu, questioned the legality of government’s action.
He argued that the body was neither formed nor owned by the state government, adding that not all markets in the state were members or had a stake in the association.
According to him, the Board petitioned South-East Markets Amalgamated Traders Association, SEMATA over the suspension as it did not want to confront the government owing to its relationship with the governor.
He said, “We have been working peacefully with Governor Willie Obiano whom we supported and worked for his reelection. But we feel stabbed at the back and paid with bad coin with the treatment meted out to us by the government.
“Governor Obiano never called us for a meeting before his government took this action and up till today, he has not called us.
“All he told us is that we worth nothing and cannot do anything but we will tell the government that they cannot always have their way in everything, we are heading to court to challenge them.
“If we have reacted following the treatment by Governor and his Commissioner, Commerce, Trade and Wealth Creation, Dr Christian Madubuko, the state would have been boiling now.
“It is more annoying considering the fact that we are registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission as a non-governmental body.
“The state government may own all the markets in the state but they do not own the traders and their property.
“AMATAS secretariat was not built with State government money, it is not all the markets and traders that belong or contributed towards building AMATAS Secretariat, the Traders House, buying the land and building the secretariat cost the BoT over N75 million.”
The AMATAS BoT had suspended the immediate past President-General of the association, Chief Okwudili Ezenwankwo, for allegedly hob-nobbing with the state government, which it said prepared grounds for the government’s suspension of the body.