By Enyim Enyim
Nnewi traders under the umbrella of New Auto Spare Parts Association(NASPA), yesterday protested the continued raid on their market by the police over alleged sale of fake imported products.
Speaking to reporters in Nnewi, the chairman of the association, Mr Mebedo Eboh said the raid was instigated by a Taiwanese firm, Akebono Nigeria Industries Limited, commonly called â€˜Day Longâ€™ following their refusal to accept a planned hike in the prices of spare parts from N1,000 to N2,500 at the expense of their customers.
Eboh, who said the traders have lost more than N150m since the raid began, called on the Federal Government, the National Assembly and Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) to carry out a proper investigation into the activities of the foreign company with a view to resolving the present problem between them. The traders also want relevant authorities to prevent a break down of law and order in the area.
Besides, the association in a letter to the Director General of SON, demanded for a workshop aimed at sensitizing their members and his (SON) men on their respective roles before the situation gets out of hand.
â€œIt is important that we dialogue now and douse the growing animosity and tension against your men and their conduct, which if not checked may lead to a break down of law and order at any other raid,â€ they said.
The traders described as mischievous, claims by the Akebono company that their products were faked, insisting that they were importing from the same foreign firm, Fei Chi City from China, saying that the truth of the matter was that Akebono was planning to chase them out of the business they have been doing for the past 20 years.
According to them,Â a team of armed anti- riot policemen on November 13, 2009 invaded the market, sealed and broke into some shops and seized many products worth millions of naira.
While appealing that SON provide a level playing ground for both the foreign and indigenous businessmen to operate, the association demanded that the Akebono Industries be called to order.