By Chimaobi Nwaiwu
NNEWI—AGGRIEVED market women from Agboedo United Market Association numbering over one thousand, yesterday, shut down Nnewi in a peaceful protest over alleged extortion.
The spokesperson for the the protesting women, Mrs Martha Mbonu alleged that women in Agboedo market have suffered all manner of extortions from the chairman of the market, Christopher Osuojukwu.
She said: “We the women traders decided to take to the streets because the chairman has come up with the idea that every poor trader in Agboedo market will pay for an identity card at the cost of N500.
“We objected to that because many women in the section of the market are petty traders who are only dealing in pepper, tomatoes, okra and other vegetables whose investment are not up to N2,000.
“We have attempted to make Osuojukwu see reason but he has remained adamant, forcing us to pay for his identity card when many of us already have National ID Card and Permanent Voters Card, PVC, for any identification exercise.
“If you multiply our number with N500, you will begin to appreciate how much our chairman wants to reap from us”
The women alleged that “the chairman is coming up with the idea of identity card to disenfranchise many poor women in the next election as it is a common knowledge that petty traders will not give him their mandate again.
“It is his constitutional right to seek re-election but it is our duty to vote him out. That is why we are not going to allow him stop us with novel and unacceptable identity card issue.”
Reacting to the allegations, chairman of Agboedo United Market Association, Osuojukwu said the protesting women are not his members and the identity card is even optional for shop owners.
“The women who are protesting are mostly those attaching themselves to recognised and registered shop owners; they are only being used by those I defeated in the election in which I emerged the chairman to cause trouble in the market.”