Anambra traders under the aegis of Integrity Group have urged Gov. Willie Obiano to sack Commissioner for Trade, Commerce, Markets and Wealth Creation, Uchenna Okafor for constant interference and imposition of caretaker committees.
The traders also accused Okafor of collecting money and building illegal shops in some markets including the shops at bridgehead market, Onitsha.
The group chairman, Mr Obinna Madu and secretary, Onyeka Udeogalanya, respectively said that Uchenna should be sacked or wait for a mass protest against him in no distant time.
“It is because of building of illegal shops at bridgehead marrket that all markets reopened on Jan. 4 except Bridge head market that reopened on Jan. 11 this year.
“The illegal activities of the Commissioner especially in the markets gave birth to Integrity Group to enable the traders express their feelings to government and general public.
“In some markets he imposes 45 to 50 caretaker committee members instead of the normal 8 to 10 members and collects N100,000 from each person and N5 million to N10 million from the chairman of the caretaker committee members. This is the bone of contention at Ogbaru Main Market where the chairman and his caretaker committee members are at war.
“We urge the state government to set up an independent investigative team to investigate our claims against the Commissioner or we will petition EFCC” the group vowed.
The group vowed also that, “if APGA gives ticket to Okafor for his House of Representatives political ambition he will lose because he thrives on crisis and sycophancy.
“Government should know that he thrivess in collection of illegal motor parks money and revenue on the roads.
“It was in the time of former Commissioner or Transport, Christian Madubuko, that it was discovered that Okafor collected money from 12 motor parks that went into his personal pocket.”
The group recalled that, “it was the former ASMATA President, Hon. Okwudili Ezenwankwo, who is now a member of House of Representatives representing Orumba Federal constituency, that handed over traders to APGA which made the party to win landslide in any election in the state including that of Governor-elect, Prof. Charles Soludo.”
In swift reactions, the Commissioner disclosed that he was being attacked by Integrity Group, claiming to be representatives of traders in the state and political opponents.
He said that his sins because he was able to mobilise them to give 95 per cent votes to the Governor-elect, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo over other politicians during the November 6 gubernatorial election in the state
Reiterating that he has no regret for what he did, the Commissioner said that he restored peace in all the markets which prompted enemies of progress in the markets like the Integrity Group and political opponents to attack him and called for his sack to enable them continue in their selfish interest as they thrive in crises.
“The allegations the Integrity Group levelled against me are false, baseless and a figment of their own imagination.
“The group has no fixed address and phone number, they are faceless and I want to tell the people that the sponsors were not able to mobilise to vote for Soludo like I did and it was part of why I am being attacked”
“They alleged that the Bridge head market was excluded from the Jan. 4 reopening of all markets because of shops that are being built there of which they accused me of taking bribe and collection of N2million from each shop.
“It is falacy, no shops are being built there rather a modern abattoir and the project is being constructed by the Ministry of Agriculture”.
“I Know that the Integrity Group and others are being sponsored to tarnish my good image, especially now that I want to contest for Federal House of Representatives, but they will not succeed”
The Commissioner who spoke through the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Trade and Commerce, Mr Ike Samuel, added that, “their aim is to stop the people from voting en mass to the Commissioner who is sure of victory come 2023 general election as his achievements will speak for him”