Market crisis may deny Anambra Government revenue

The ownership crisis rocking the Igbo-Ukwu rural market in Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State may deny the state government huge revenue collection.
The crisis has created confusion over who to pay stall levies between the contractor-financier and the state government.
It would be recalled that the market was established in 1989 through a tripartite arrangement involving the Anambra Government, Aguata Local Government and Clay-Maco Construction Company.

Speaking on the development, the Chairman, Igbo-Ukwu Traders Association, Mr. Ugochukwu Okaforuzu, told newsmen on Wednesday that that the amount involved in the contractor financier arrangement for the project was N22 million.

According to him, the Clay-Maco contract with the state government ended in 2004.
However, Okaforuzu said that the contractor-financier headed by its Deputy Managing Director, Mrs. Grace Anaekwe, had continued to collect revenue and issuing counter allocation certificates to traders.

He explained that six persons were arrested on September 17 for allegedly collecting levies but were later released on bail while those who allegedly fled government arrest had their shops locked up.

“On their return from the Ekwulobia Police Station, they re-opened their shops and threatened to kill me only for them to make true their threat by burning down my office on September 19.

“Since then, they have continued to collect revenue from the traders.”
He called on the state Government and the Police to intervene in the ownership crisis rocking the market to prevent it from escalating.
In her reaction, Anaekwe said the state and local governments only contributed N1.7 million and N150, 000 respectively in 1992.

“The contractor had since mobilized to work and had written the state government severally to intervene but no response.”
Anaekwe also accused Okaforuzu of collecting revenue without government authority and using armed security guards to cause problem in the market.
“How can government enter a tripartite arrangement without allowing the company to recoup its money before handing over.

“If government wants to take over the market, they should pay off the contractor financier,” she said, while denying involvement in the alleged arson.

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