MARKET leaders in Anambra have been ordered to desist from holding political rallies and campaigns in various marketplaces across the state.
Commissioner for Trade and Commerce, Chief Uchenna Okafor, handed down the order during a meeting with all stakeholders and market leaders at the office of Head of Service (HOS) Conference Hall, State Secretariat, Awka.
According to Okafor, the order is in line with the stance of state government that markets should never be used for political rallies or campaigns.
This, he explained, is also in line with government’s effort to ensure that chaos and commotion are not allowed to take root in markets and consequently threaten security.
“There are diverse political interests in the markets, and some politicians will want to take advantage of traders and their markets. They should not be allowed into markets to avoid causing confusion in the markets. What is happening is so dangerous that security agents are killed and their arms taken away. In two incidents at Awkuzu and Neni, some security agents were killed. If such happens in a market environment, casualties will be so much.
The weapons carted away by unknown gunmen who perpetrated the crimes may be used to commit other crimes.
Anambra State has been the most peaceful and safest state in Nigeria, but when security agents that have given us that success are attacked and dislodged, we are in danger,” he said.
Okafor, therefore, urged all market leaders to be vigilant and on alert, especially due to the challenges facing the state in recent times.
But he called on market executive committees to sensitise traders in their markets to be security conscious and monitor movements in and around their markets as well as report suspicious movements to the police.
Responding to the call, President of Anambra State Market Amalgamated Traders Association (ASMATA), Ikechukwu Ekwegbalu advised market executive members to provide fire extinguishers in their various markets as previously agreed.
This, he explained, should happen before traders ask for other firefighting equipment such as water hydrants and fire trucks in the markets.