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Crisis in Onitsha market deepens as trustees threaten to return to court

By Nwabueze Okonkwo

ONITSHA—Registered trustees of Onitsha Bridge-Head Market Traders Association, OBHMTA have threatened to drag Anambra Ctate Commissioner for Trade, Commerce and Industry, Ifeatu Onejeme, and his appointed three-man peace committee to court for failing to conduct an election into the executive position of the association on March 16 as contained in a consent judgement delivered a Federal High Court in Awka.

...the angry protesters

The court had in the judgement, following the intervention of the commissioner and his peace committee, ordered that an election that will produce a democratically elected executive committee of the market be conducted on March 16 to bring to an end to the crisis arising from prolonged interim management or caretaker system of leadership in the market.

The intervention of the commissioner and his consequent appointment of the peace committee was sequel to a N100 million suit earlier filed by the trustees at the court against the Chief Ambrose Osakwe-led incumbent nine-man caretaker committee of the market for meddling with the leadership or affairs of the executive of the market without being properly elected as provided in the constitution of the association.

In the suit, the trustees, led by its chairman, Chief Robert Ozigbo, had sought a perpetual injunction restraining the caretaker committee members (defendants) and their agents from in a any way or manner further meddling with the leadership or affairs of the executive of the market without being properly elected as provided in the constitution of the association.

Speaking to newsmen yesterday in his office, Ozigbo stated that since the commissioner and his peace committee had flouted the court order by failing to conduct the election on March 16 or even after that date for no justifiable reason, the trustees had just met and decided to return to the court soon for a contempt proceeding against him and his peace committee.

Ozigbo recalled that when the March 16 election date was suggested by the peace committee before taking it to the court for approval as a consent judgement, he personally advised that the election date be extended till after the March 28 Presidential and National Assembly elections.

 


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