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Why Soludo Reopened Odera Market

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By Chuks Eke
The Anambra State government has temporarily reopened the Odera Shopping Complex/Market in Awka, which was closed recently due to alleged non-remittance of state government revenues generated from the market.
The market reopened following an undertaking from market stakeholders and traders that their Chairman, Emmanuel Nwonwu, who has remained incommunicado, would honour the government’s invitation to appear before the state revenue house today, Monday, to give an accurate account of the revenues collected from traders on behalf of the state government.
The Task Force of the State Internal Revenue Service, AIRS operating as the Unified Hybrid Enforcement Team, UHBET under the leadership of the State Coordinator in charge of Anambra Central Zone, Evaristus Offor stormed the market premises last Thursday and sealed the market for lack of traders’ compliance to market fee/levy payments.
But some traders in a show of bravado resisted the UHBET officials, arguing that they do not owe the government having paid through their Market leader, who did not issue them the receipt.
According to an eyewitness, there were no records of such payments, prompting them to call the Market Chairman, Nwonwu, and request that he appear and produce the receipts for the said payment.
However, the calls were not responded to and this irked the Task Force to seal the market.
Investigations revealed that it took the intervention of some stakeholders of the Odera Market led by the Vice Chairman, Chief Ikechukwu Ugwuoke and the Secretary, Emeka Nwagbala for the un-sealing of the market.
Our source hinted that the re-opening has a condition attached to it, as there was an agreement that the Market Chairman, Nwonwu should appear on Monday, March 4, 2024, before the Task Force at the Revenue House to show evidence of payments as claimed by the traders, failing which the market would be re-sealed.
Speaking to newsmen on the development, Ugwuoke lamented the unfortunate incident, blaming the Chairman for insensitivity to the needs of the traders,  worsening their plight, adopting high-handedness to run the affairs of the market and blocking moves to install democratically-elected leaders many years after his tenure expired.
He expressed dismay with the unforeseen development, as he observed that the unsealing of the market is only tentative as the AIRS officials have threatened to come back and re-seal the market if Nwonwu failed to appear before the Task Force team at the Revenue House, Awka on Monday, today.
According to him, traders have repeatedly accused the Market Chairman of running the market as a personal affair, without an official bank account or co-signatories, as required by the Odera Market Constitution.
Contributing, the Secretary, Nwagbala, pioneer Chairman of the Market, Chinweze Ijomah, and one-time Chairman of the Task Force on Security Fee Collection, Humphrey Onuorah, confirmed the claims of some of the traders that they paid their fees/levies to the Chairman for onward transmission to and receipt by government officials, but did not receive official receipts thereafter.
They claimed that Nwonwu was abusing his position as Chairman after it had expired for more than two years, collecting revenues arbitrarily without issuing receipts, being unaccountable, and using threats to his opponents’ lives to intimidate them.
They also requested that Governor Chukwuma Soludo use his good offices to appoint a Caretaker Committee to run the market for a few months to lay the groundwork for the election of new officers.
Stakeholders and traders also noted that Nwonwu is serving his third term in office, even though the Odera Market Constitution only allows for a three-year term and one renewal.

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Obi Of Onitsha Describes Gov. Otti As ‘God-Sent’, Commissions Three Roads In Aba

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*Gov Otti, the Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Alfred Achebe; Speaker of Abia State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Emmanuel Emeruwa; and Chairman of Abia State Council of Traditional Rulers, Eze Linus Nto Mba during the road commissioning

One of Nigeria’s foremost traditional rulers, the Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Alfred Nnaemeka Achebe, has described Abia State Governor, Dr. Alex Otti, as “God-sent”, saying that the former banker is not just the pride of Abia, but Nigeria as a whole.

In a press statement from Kazie Uko, Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Igwe Achebe proclaimed that God had sent Governor Otti to restore the glory of Abia and place the State at its place of pride as number one, after 24 years of decadence and “wandering in the wilderness”.

The revered Igbo traditional ruler and corporate titan noted that Abia, indeed Aba, people, are known for their resilience and entrepreneurial spirit, pointing out that since the assumption of office by Governor Otti, things have started to change for the better for the State.

He spoke Friday, in Aba, where he was given the honour of commissioning three roads reconstructed by the Governor Otti administration. The roads are Ehi, Kent and Old Court.

“It is a thing of great joy for me to be in Abia State today with you. Your son, Dr. Alex Otti, the pride of Abia, the pride of Nigeria, is God-sent at this time to rebuild Abia, to rebuild Aba for us. You know that Aba used to be number one in Nigeria, in enterprise, commerce, industry, and creativity.

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“Just one year after Governor Otti assumed office in Abia, you can all see that things have begun to change for the better, and it will continue to get better and better after he does the first term of four years and another term of four years.

“So, it’s a thing of joy that we’re gathered here today. You elected him into office and I urge you to continue to support him, all of us will continue to support him and pray for him so that he will deliver on his promise to the people of Abia State.

“I have every confidence in him because we have worked together for many, many years. He is a man of his word. He will do more than he has done already. So, let’s continue to pray for him, for strength, and good health, to continue in his work,” Igwe Achebe implored the ecstatic crowd that milled around.

In his speech, Governor Otti emphasised that his administration is people-centric, noting that the most important part of governance is to work for the overall good of the people.

The Governor, while recalling the horrible state of the roads before reconstruction, said he was moved to intervene despite not being on the original list of roads to be constructed and expressed happiness over their completion in barely three months.

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“When I came here in February, I came to inspect Port Harcourt Road and I wanted to see what was happening at Ndoki Road and from there I walked through this place and the Old Court Road, and what I saw shocked me.

“I knew the situation was bad but I didn’t know it was that bad, and I saw people, who were resilient with a lot of energy, sweeping through the pond which should have been a road, to access their shops, to access their places of livelihood.

“I was moved and I said even though this was not on the original list of priority projects for us this road had to be done. That is the genesis of this road.

“I gave instructions that I wanted this road fixed and I wanted it to be fixed the way our roads are fixed. I am happy that three months down the line the roads are now standing,” the Governor noted.

He stated that the roads were delivered to high-quality standards and specifications, and thanked the contractor, supervisors as well as the Direct Labour Agency of the Ministry of Works for collaborating to ensure timely delivery.

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Governor Otti, who used the opportunity to announce that his administration would in June commence the reconstruction of Enyimba Hotel, Aba, to five-star standards, said it is all to make Aba one of the best cities in Nigeria.

“On the hill of the hotel will be a convention centre and then across the hotel, by the waterside, will be a state-of-the-art park and gardens. All these are geared towards making Aba one of the best cities in the Southeast if not Nigeria,” the Governor said.

While emphasising that his government came prepared to govern, Governor Otti stated that he is opening industrial layouts in the State, in addition to empowering the private sector to work and create employment opportunities for the people, and called on manufacturers and industrialists to come back and invest in the State.

He assured that under the present administration, Aba will regain her status in the comity of states across the country, adding that “never again will the people go back to Egypt.”

In an address earlier, the Commissioner for Works, Engr. Otumchere Oti said that the Old Court Road was earlier impassable before the Governor’s directive for its reconstruction, three months ago.

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The Commissioner stated that the 561-meter-long road connects Ehi Road by Ngwa Road, adding that the road adorned with street lights, was done through direct labour by engineers from the State Ministry of Works.

He said that the 1.2km Kent by Ehi Road was done by a reputable construction firm and was carefully done to ensure the free flow of traffic, enhance socio-economic development and boost the state’s IGR. He urged residents to safeguard the infrastructure.

 

 

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Top 3 Markets In Onitsha Win Anambra Revenue Generating Markets Award

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Gov. Soludo of Anambra State

By Chuks Eke*

Three major markets in Onitsha, Anambra state have so far won various categories of awards in the area of revenue generation. The awards came from the Editorial Board of FREENEWS Magazine, a Port Harcourt, Rivers State-based News Magazine.

The markets are Onitsha Main Market which won the Anambra State First Revenue Generating Market 2023 Award, while Ochanja Central Market won the Anambra State Fastest Growing Revenue Generating Market 2023 Award, just as Onitsha Bridgehead Drug Dealers Market (Ogbogwu) won the Anambra State Favourable Revenue Generating Market Award all in the Public Category.

In an individual category, the Chairman of Onitsha Drug (Ogbogwu) Market Caretaker Committee, Chief Chukwuleta Ndubuisi and his Main Market and Ochanja Central Market counterparts, Chief Innocent Ezeoha (Ezennia of Umuchu) and Chief Bonaventure Mmuo won Ambassadors of Entrepreneurship and Good Market Administration Awards.

Bestowing the awards on the markets and their chairmen, the Chairman of the Editorial Board of FREENEWS Magazine, Obinna Mbonu explained that it took time for the Editorial Board members to do thorough research and discover that these markets and their leaders keyed into Governor Chukwuma Soludo’s vision to make Anambra a liveable and prosperous home state through adequate revenue generation from the markets in the state.

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Mbonu urged them to redouble their efforts towards generating more revenues from their markets to assist Soludo in transforming the state into an enviable status.

In their separate responses, the three market leaders, Chukwuleta, Ezeoha and Mmuo, flanked by executive members of their respective caretaker committees, commended FREENEWS Magazine Editorial Board members for their investigative acumen and charged other publishers to emulate them as watchdogs for a better society.

Chukwuleta, Ezeoha and Mmuo who described Soludo’s administration as the best so far among other previous regimes in the state, disclosed that they were able to raise their annual revenue generation profile from between N20 to N30 million to about N90 million and above per annum in each of the markets, which is why Soludo is currently brazing the trail in human capital and infrastructural developments.

They stated that even if Soludo refuses to go for a second tenure in 2025, they would plead with him to do so in the interest of God and humanity.

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FRSC Embarks On Sensitisation Campaign, Enlightenment For Drivers, Other Road Users

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FRSC operatives

By Chuks Eke*

Members of RS5.3 Special Marshals, an arm of the Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC in Anambra State, have embarked on a sensitisation campaign and educational enlightenment for drivers and other road users in the state.

The campaign and sensitisation programmes are aimed at instilling good road attitude and other safety measures on our highways and above all saving lives and properties of Nigerians from perishing in road Carnages.

Coordinator of the FRSC Special Marshals in Anambra state, Patrick Esumai who spearheaded the sensitization programmes,, highlighted the importance of special marshals as a voluntary arm of FRSC which provides service to humanity in the area of teaching and encouraging motorists to obey all traffic rules to enhance sanity on our roads.

Esumai said, “This public enlightenment campaign is a vital role we carry out as special marshals in teaching and encouraging motorists/road users to obey all traffic rules. When people exhibit good behaviours on the road, road crashes would be avoided or at least minimised”.

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“We act as a supporting pillar to FRSC and that is the reason Anambra State Special Marshals are currently engaged in building a Road Traffic Crash Clinic at Nteje Unit Command, which is intended to help accident victims get swift and proper medical attention with little resources”.

“We are therefore, soliciting from government, good-spirited philanthropists, corporate bodies, and individuals that have the interest of humanity at heart to join us in building this notable project as service to humanity”.

“The special marshals are men and women of proven integrity from all walks of life, as we are trying to work by the core values of FRSC; we encourage more people to join special marshal in service to God and humanity”.

This year’s public enlightenment lecture was delivered by the Coordinator of Unit 5 Special Marshal, Peter Nwaezuoke, on behalf of Esumai the State Coordinator

The exercise saw the corps visiting motor parks, roads, churches and other public places to campaign on the need for road users to exhibit good practices on the roads, teaching as well as encouraging motorists to obey all traffic rules and highway codes.

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Stressing that the three main factors that cause accidents on the roads are human, ecological and environmental, Nwaezuoke stressed that it was its tradition to periodically sensitise the motoring public and other road users on good cultures and best road practices to avoid road crashes and minimise traffic congestion.

According to him, “This is advocacy and interventions we are carrying out as special marshals to sensitise the people on best road practices and safety measures. We started with a Thanksgiving Mass to thank God for keeping every member alive after our December and Easter patrols.

“Every year, members of Unit 5 of the federal arm of FRSC, go for its annual thanksgiving. The reason we do this is that we take it as a point of duty that after the patrols and God saved us on the roads, nobody was attacked or knocked down by vehicles, and neither was any accident recorded, we usually thank God and since we started it, no member has been attacked”.

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