Don’t tear market apart over leadership tussle — Trade commissioner cautions

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BY SUNNY A. DAVID

The Commissioner for Trade and Commerce, Mr. Uchenna Okafor has cautioned the Bridge Head Market Traders to stop causing confusion but be patient until the Court of Appeal decides their pending matter in court.
Commissioner Okafor said the warning became necessary because he had received a series of calls demanding the sack of a sitting President- General, Mr. Sunday Obinze.
He spoke shortly after a meeting with the President-General and the Market Executive at the Market Hall, Bridge Head at which he was invited.
According to Mr. Okafor, on receiving an Onitsha High Court Judgment presided over by Justice B. A. Onyefulu which has ruled that the executive be removed, I consulted the Legal Department of the Ministry which advised restraint.
“I subsequently received another document saying that the matter had gone to an Appeal Court and since we respect court orders; I changed course of my coming here,’’ the Commissioner said.
He noted in his address since the executive was elected for a term of office, they therefore have reasons to go even to the Appeal or Supreme Court to defend their tenure.
“I could have come to execute the Onitsha High court judgement, if they were appointed, but since they were duly elected, the status quo remains until the Court of Appeal decides,’’ Mr. Okafor stressed.
Commissioner Okafor explained that it was not for him to withdraw the case, but was left for the parties to the crises to agree to seek alternative means of settlement.
He, however, urged them to feel free to visit him in his Awka office to resolve issues.
One of the Market Patrons, Mr. Ignatius Agbaraizu had requested the Commissioner to seek a withdrawal of the matter from the courts, noting that every problem had a solution.
Mr. Agbaraizu had also pleaded with the traders to accommodate the executive as nobody was perfect, reminding them that they have almost two years to complete their second tenure and thereafter an election of a new set of people could take place.
One of the opponents, Board of Trustees, Mr. Chukwudi Ekwueme thanked the Commissioner for his visit and informed him of their initial plans to visit him to discuss some issues bothering them.
The President General Mr. Sunday Obinze in a remark thanked the Traders for their response to his invitation, praying that he would never disappoint them as he would carry out their wishes.

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