Following the imposition of N1.2 million fine on them for erecting shops on top of existing structures, traders in the well-known spare parts market in Onitsha.
The traders are threatening a showdown with government authorities if they keep insisting they should pay the N20, 000 for forms within one week and the N1.2 million within three months.
Obiora Ofoleh, the chairman of the traders union said such a levy is outrageous and insensitive because the timing is too short, noting that when the market was built in 1989, it was not the government that built it, but private individuals.
Ofoleh said: “The Nkpor new auto spare parts market is a private market and not public market and so any decision to improve or rebuild the structure should be made by shop owners and not any external body at all. If there is any need to rebuild or restructure the market, the shop owners must be consulted.”
“The market leadership has no right to set up a building committee for the building of the shops without consulting the shop owners and if the building committee must be set up, it is the shop owners who are the original developers that will do that and not the executive.”
“For peace to reign and to avoid breakdown of law and order in the market your attention is highly needed in order to avert a major crisis in this market.”
“Of interest to note is that the shop owners are the people who dug the borehole being used in the market. They also tarred all the roads in the market and the hall where they normally conduct their meetings.”
“Why on earth would somebody come from somewhere to decide how to construct or build lock up shops upstairs without consulting the shop owners who are the real developers?”, he asked.