At least 10 people were reportedly injured at the weekend following a protest by about 2,000 traders of Emodi Shoe Dealers Association, ESDA unit, Ochanja Central market Onitsha, Anambra State, Daily Trust reports.
The protesters who marched round major roads and lines in the market, raised alarm over plan by the outgoing executive led by Chief Nwabueze Umeh and his cohorts to impose leaders on them and illegally extend their tenure ahead of their election billed for Wednesday, September 27, 2017.
In a three-page petition signed by the counsel to the protesters, B.I. Akujo, and sent to the commissioner of trade and commerce, Amaka Ilobi, the protesters listed their grievances against the outgoing executive to also include, appointment of patrons and advisers who unconstitutionally convened a kangaroo meeting where they resolved that the expired tenure of the outgoing executive be extended by one year.
They accused the Chairman of unilaterally appointed an electoral committee without the consent of the traders and illegally appointed also a screening committee which according to the protesters was aimed at disqualifying their popular chairmanship candidate, Leonard Umeh and his vice, Emeka Edeh.
One of those who sustained injuries, vice chairmanship aspirant, Emeka Edeh, told newsmen while narrating his ordeal said he was suddenly beaten up by thugs the day he came for the screening exercise.
“I knew it was because they saw me as a winner and I had to run away and they pursued me to ensure I was injured and would not participate in the election,” he said.
A chieftain of the market, Chief Nwangwu Linus, described the protest as a welcome development adding, “for eight years we have been suffering because of autocratic and monopolistic leadership by Nwabueze Umeh.”
When contacted in his Akpaka residence near Onitsha, Chief Umeh denied the allegations, insisting that “the constitution is there for everyone to see.”