By Vincent Ujumadu
Awka—ANAMBRA State government and some local government areas in the state may be up in arms over the control of markets, as the state Commissioner for Trade and Commerce, Dr. Christian Madubuko insisted yesterday that local governments had no powers to authorise individuals to construct markets in any part of the state.
The commissioner, who spoke while parading three persons, including a chief in Aguata Local Government Area, Chief Francis Eze who was allegedly involved in illegal revenue collection, said the state had consistently made it clear that revenue collection in the markets had been banned.
Eze had claimed that following the overflowing of Aguata market at Ekwulobia, he bought a piece of land at a cost of N5.2 million and had also spent about N3 million to construct 20 stalls after receiving approval from Aguata local government to construct the market.
According to him, the market is his private business, adding that he thought the approval he got from the local government was enough to operate the market.
He said he used the money collected from the traders to expand the market, adding that he informed a traditional ruler in the area who advised him to approach the local government for approval before he embarked on the project.
However, the commissioner regretted that although the state government had banned all levies in the state, some people were still going about extorting huge sums of money from unsuspecting traders.
He said: “From what Chief Eze is saying, you can see that they are earning a living from innocent traders and we are doing our best to stop them. These people are flouting the state government orders, but today, luck ran against them and they were arrested.
“Local governments do not have authority to approve the construction of markets because the state government had told all local governments that for them to give such approval, they must first liaise with the ministry of trade and commerce. I want to state that we have not authorised anybody to build any market in the area.”
He described the suspects as “criminals who had formed the habit of disobeying government orders.”