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Monday, May 20, 2024

Market Crisis: Onitsha Electronics Market Dealers’ Case Debarred Over Representation Tussle


By Polycarp Ifeanyi, Onitsha

A disagreement over who should represent the Board of Trustees (BOT) of Electronics Market Dealers in Onitsha stalled the adoption of court proceedings by both parties on Tuesday.

The Electronics Dealers, represented by Ifechukwu Anozie, had brought a case against the three-man Caretaker Committee, headed by Donatus Obi, to the Atani High Court presided over by Justice C.C. Okaa.

During the hearing, two counsels appeared for the Board of Trustees (BOT). These counsels included H.O. Eze, representing Philip Iheanocho and other members of the BOT, and E.C. Ezemenari, who appeared for the Chairman of the BOT.

Ezemenari claimed that the BOT had not been served, a claim refuted by the court, which confirmed that they were duly served, including with the hearing notice.

Justice C.C. Okaa instructed both counsels to file their addresses and return on the adjourned date, May 23, 2024.

However, the defendants’ counsel, Chief Ugo Ugwunnadi Esq, explained the confusion in court, alleging that the Chairman of the BOT had aligned with the defendants, compromising his position.

He further asserted that the plaintiff had a clear and unambiguous case, expressing confidence in obtaining justice.

Ugwunnadi emphasized that the core issue was the State Government’s appointment of Donatus Obi and two others to collect taxes and development levies, but they had overstepped their mandate by collecting other levies, such as sanitation, security, loading, and off-loading levies.

He highlighted their intimidation and harassment of traders through an illegal task force and Peace Committee, resulting in some traders being expelled from the market and their shops locked up.

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