There is palpable anger in Anambra markets as the Anambra State Commissioner for Commerce, Industry, Market and Wealth Creation, Dr. Christian Madubuko, in a bid to decongest traders hawking at Sokoto Street near Onitsha Main Market horse-whipped traders embarking on Christmas auction sales.
The Commissioner who stormed the market with thugs and DSS operatives engaged in a whipping spree in a bid to chase away the traders who were involved in Christmas auction.
When newsmen went to Sokoto Street , the victims who included market women and other traders lamented the manner the Commissioner invaded the market with thugs and security operatives to physically abuse and inflict injuries on them.
Mr Godson Nwokorie, one of the victims decried lack of decorum by the Commissioner who descended so low to not only carry thugs around who whipped people indiscriminately but also got himself involved in a shameless act of engaging in the beating of traders himself.
The 60 -year old Nwokorie who narrated his ordeal said he bent down to remove iron blocking the entrance to his shop when thugs accompanying Madubuko started whipping him all over his body from his head.
“I was confused. I don’t know what to do. I could only hold my eye glass until they finished whipping me to their satisfaction. I have never seen such brigandage and ruthlessness by a Commissioner before.
Another trader, Chief Nnaemeka Okolo, said two of his boys, one of them a student of Nnamdi Azikiwe Awka were victims of the Commissioner’ high handedness.
Chief Okolo who has a shop at Sokoto Street narrated how his two sons were flogged by the Commissioner and his thugs as mobs would do to common criminals.
Chief Okolo wondered why a Commissioner and a member of State Executive Council can descend so low to be carrying horse whips about to beat people.
,”I called the Chairman of Sokoto Road who did not pick my calls. I called Serpentia Radio to narrate our ordeal but their numbers were not going through.They collected money from people to put them there to engage in Christmas auction. Why are they chasing them out” he said.
It was however gathered that at a time the traders became so embittered that they started booing the Commissioner and pelted him with pure water.
It was also learnt that the Commissioner obviously embarrassed by the development returned back the following day apparently to enforce total decongestion but the traders chased him out of the market with stones and clubs.
When contacted, the President-General of Amalgamated Markets Traders of Anambra State (AMATAS), Chief Okwudili Ezenwankwo, said he can’t talk on the matter as he was far away in Abuja.
He said it would be difficult for him to comment on the development as he doesn’t have the details.
But Comrade Vincent Ezekwueme, chairman of the Civil Liberties Organization (CLO), in Anambra State, blamed both the Commissioner and the Market leaders in the State for the congestions in Anambra streets and markets.
Ezekwueme said he has sent petitions to the Commissioner at least on three occasions but he did not reply any of them.
He said there must have been misunderstanding between the Commissioner and market leaders over the sharing formula of the money realised from the traders at Sokoto Road, who allegedly paid between,,N30,000 and N100,000 for Christmas auction.
All efforts to get the Commissioner to comment on the matter failed as his handset was ringing engaged.