Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State at the weekend directed the Commissioner for Commerce, Trade and Wealth Creation, Chief Uchenna Okafor, to liaise with all market leaders across the state in a bid to open their markets for businesses on Mondays.
Recall that private businesses, markets, banks and other public institutions, including Government Ministries and activities, have continued to shun their businesses for fear of molestation by hooligans who have seemingly infiltrated the fold IPOB to enforce Mondays sit-at-home order by the leadership of the group.
However, a faction in the IPOB group is not comfortable with the Monday sit-at-home order, since according to the group,” it was killing the economy of the South East Region who depend mainly on self-help and private businesses to survive, unlike other regions that enjoy Federal Government patronage and assistance for survival.”
A trader in Onitsha Main Market, Mr Ben Odimegwu who spoke to our correspondent on the issue said that the obedience to IPOB sit-at-home order has been abused by the group which he noted was priding with unnecessary directives that are attracting hardship to the people of South East.
However, Governor Obiano who frowned at the hardship faced by the people of the state occasioned by Mondays sit-at-home has urged all the citizens to ignore the order as security agents would be hard on any person or group of people that might attempt to disrupt public peace on Mondays across the state.
Tuesday this week has also been declared a sit-at-home by the group working for self-determination of the South East Region of the country.
Traders in Anambra State, especially Onitsha had in the past been reckoned as an influential and forceful group capable of fighting crimes and hooliganism in Anambra State where the police and other security agencies have failed until the state government infiltrated the markets and whittled down the powers of market leaders over what was largely seen as political control of markets because of huge funds and traders population.
It would be recalled that in the late or ’70s or early 80’s it was the arrangement of Onitsha traders under “Boys Oye” that ended the activities of criminals and other forms of hooliganism in Onitsha and its environs when the activities of criminals overwhelmed the police in and around the commercial town of Onitsha.
It should also be recalled that in early 2000 it was also the arrangement of Nnewi traders when violent crime was at its peak that also ended criminal activities through the invitation of now-defunct dreaded “Bakassi Boys” which later arrived Onitsha and ended all forms of violent crimes within the cities before it was allegedly abused by the then Governor who was accused of using the group as an armed political group.
The test of the Anambra State Government authority and power will arguably be tested on Monday as the Governor has directed market leaders to fully take charge and open their markets for businesses.
The security strategy that will be applied to protect markets and traders are being awaited as the people continue to live in fear of opening their businesses on Mondays.