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Enugu traders accuse ex-council boss of reallocating their shops

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Some traders in Afor Awkunanaw Market, Gariki Enugu, have accused the sacked Enugu South Council Chairman, Mr Chimezie Robinson Nkwuo, of reallocating their shops in the market to others.

They alleged that police officers from Awkunanaw Police Station in the LGA in company of others invaded their shops few weeks ago and ejected traders they put in their shops.

Narrating the development on Monday in Enugu, the Leader of Enugu State Perishable Traders Welfare Association, Mr Okenwa Nnaji, said his shop was among the ones reallocated by the ex-council Chairman.

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Explaining how the shops came to be, Nnaji said as a result of COVID-19, they were forced to leave where they were trading at Akwata in Ogbete Market for over forty years down to Afo Awkunanaw market.

According to him, he led traders to Afo Awkunanaw on April 9, 2020, adding when they got there, the then, Enugu South LGA Chairman, Monday Eneh, invited them for a meeting where they discussed on to build shops as they were none in the market.

“That was how 116 shops were initially constructed and finished under Eneh on Public Private Partnership arrangement and I was allocated one shop,” Nnaji said.

He said the Memorandum of Understanding between the Enugu South LGA and Marac Resources Limited he owned, was to build 16 shops where the developer takes 9 shops and the LG takes 7 shops.

Nnaji added that the allocation paper dated Nov. 7, 2021 on Block 4 number 11 and Block 3 number 11 was allocated to another trader, Ozuobu Uche who supervised the entire construction as well as Block 3 number 14 as allocated to one Uche Ogbodo.

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He disclosed that few weeks ago, the DPO of Awkunanaw Police Station and some other people came and evicted people they put in their shops saying that Nkwuo directed them to carry out the exercise as the shops had been reallocated to other traders.

The leader expressed surprised on how somebody would be evicted from his or her shop without a notice of even one day.

“We were not given any notice prior to the eviction or suggesting he has revoked the shops or reason why the shops should be revoked as there are conditions on how shops should be revoked.

“It is either one is constituting nuisance or breaching the peace of the market or defacing the market or owing to the extent it becomes negligence.

“But this one, they took the people we put in our shops to police and confiscated their phones and their goods were thrown outside the market while others were damaged in the process

“I went to Awknanaw police station with my allocation paper and the DPO told me that I cannot fight government as everything about the shops has been changed,” Nnaji said.

He made it clear that apart from bringing other perishable traders to Gariki market and as a trader for over 40 years he was entitle to shops.

Corroborating what he said, another trader and Engineer that supervised shops construction in the market, Uche Ozuobu, said only shop given to him had been reallocated to one Caleb Ani who evicted the person he put in the shop.

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Speaking on the matter, the former Enugu South Council Chairman, Monday Eneh, said he allocated the shops to the beneficiaries, stressing due process were followed.

Eneh said his signature and seal were boldly placed on the allocation paper, saying everything about the allocation of the shops to the beneficiaries were well strengthened and stressed before he left office and handed over to Nkwuo.

He described the market as a dungeon and criminal hideout, full of rubbish that lasted for more than 23 years before Nnaji and some Hausa traders pleaded with him to give them a place since they were ejected from Akwata market.

“We took them to the market where they accepted it would serve their needs in 2020/2021 and I assured them that if they actualize our dream in turning the place into a market, they will enjoy the benefits.

“The partnership was on PPP basis where the developer takes 60 per cent and LG 40 as the developer used his resources to build the shops from beginning to end. No single Kobo from the council was spent on the project.

“Nnaji applied to construct some shops and it was approved . It was an agreement with the market leader that few shops would be given to him as he was instrumental in constructing those shops,” Eneh added.

When contacted, the DPO Awknanaw who pleaded anonymity, said, “how can a DPO lead people to Afor Awkunanaw to evict people from their shops? Am I the market Chairman or Local Government Chairman?

“I don’t have any hand there and I and my officers did not step in there”.

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Responding, Nkwuo said the shops they were claiming belong to LGA, alleging that they went from behind and sold the shops belonging to LGA without remitting money to the council.

He said, “Whoever that needs clarification should go to the marketing department of the LGA overseeing the market as the allocation paper they have were not the one for the shops they are talking about.

“It is not when you are with different allocation paper and you are claiming another shop. Those claiming that theirs were reallocated should go to the registry at the council to see if there were registered”.

Below are list of those affected by the reallocation.

1. Ezinne Jane Nnamani
Shop No. D-Akt Block 4 shop 9( 4/9) now shop 5b

2. Raymond Okenwa
Shop No. D-Akt block 4 shop 11 (4/11) now shop 3b

3. Theophilus Nwobodo
Shop No. U-Akt block 4 shop 9 (4/9) now shop 5A

4. Paul mbah/ Chijioke Agbo
Shop No. U-Akt block 4 shop 9 (4/9) now shop 3A

5. Engr. Uche ozobu
Shop No. U-Akt block 3 shop 11 (3/11) now shop 17

6. Emmanuel Agbo
Shop No. U-Akt block 4 shop 16 (4/16) now shop……..

7. Hon. Uchenna Ogbodo
Shop No. D-Akt Block 3 shop 14 (3/14) now shop No 16

8. Chief Israel Anih
Shop No. U-Akt block 3 shop 17 (3/17) now shop……..

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