National Conscience Party (NCP), Anambra state chapter has expressed worry over alleged interference of the state government in the administration of markets, threatening court actions over the matter.
The party particularly frowned at the recent constitution of a 48-man committee charged with checking illegal drugs in markets in the state wondering whether the committee had the legal right to perform such function.
In a statement issued after the party’s executive committee meeting of May, 28 and signed by its chairman, Sir Peter Okala and Secretary Chief Raymond Anyaeji, the party described the committee appointment as fraudulent and clandestine.
“We draw government attention to “fraudulent and clandestine” appointment of a Forty-eight-member committee known as “Task Force On The Prohibition Of Adulterated Goods And Products In Anambra State By The Hon Commissioner of Trade And Commerce” Hon. Uchenna Okafor at the twilight of Governor Willie Obiano’s Administration.
“The forty-eight-member committee whose credentials are yet unknown to the public have been assigned to take over the duties of Federal Agencies like NAFDAC, The Customs and Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) who has the backing of the law to determine the veracity of adulteration and the book of law to verify and identify those goods that are prohibited,” it said.
The party believed that by the appointment of the committee through a letter with reference: Mte/Mkt /02/150 dated May 1, 2021 the government was merely creating avenue to milk traders as the committee is lacking in legality to perform such function.
It said the state government has never allowed traders to elect their leaders in the various markets. Instead, it appointed caretaker committees through which it installed its agents to milk the traders and thereby impoverish them.
The party also said that in the past six years billions of naira collected as stallage fees from traders in Anambra State Market in the past six years were not receipted.
This it argued, placed the traders in fear that the administration coming after may ask traders to revalidate their payment.
It added: “Over two hundred Markets in Anambra State today are led by the caretaker Committees appointed by the Honorable Commissioner of Trade and Commerce who pay at least three to five million naira to get appointed to the detriment of the traders in Anambra State”.
Efforts to reach the Commissioner of Trade and Commerce Mr. Uchenna Okafor through phone calls and text messages failed as he did not pick his calls nor replied his text messages.