Indigenes of Umuoma, Ogbe Ahiara, Ahiazu Mbaise Local Government Area of Imo State have warned Governor Rochas Okorocha to rescind his plan to demolish the ancestral market in their area, saying the market is a symbol of their village and major means of livelihood.
In a peaceful march to register their opposition to the planned demolition of the commercial centre, which according to them is as old as their village, the aggrieved villagers, chanting solidarity songs with palm fronds and placards some of which read “Afor Ogbe is our heritage”, “we do not want any interference from government”, “demolition of Afor Ogbe will only bring poverty to our people. “Government of Imo State leave Afor Ogbe alone”, “to whom it may concern, please, please leave our market for us” and “Afor Ogbe is our market, we do not want any renovation or sale”, the villagers vowed to resist the demolition with the last drop of their blood.
Nze Emmanuel Iheariorochi Egbutu, chairman, Aladimma Umuoma as well as the chairman of Independent, Televideo Producers Association, Mbaise chapter, told the DAILY INDEPENDENT that the people are opposed to the market demolition because, “it is a major source of our livelihood and one of the symbols of our village”.
According to Egbutu, when the news of government’s intension to demolish the market filtered to the indigenes, they waited patiently to hear directly from the government but all to no avail only for some government officials to dramatically inform them of this in an unconventional manner and also falsely claim to have secured the blessing of the traditional ruler of the Ogbe community, HRH Eze Pat Ihuoma, which turned out to be a untrue.
“Demolition of the market will adversely affect our people economically and if the market requires renovation, let the government allow us to effect the repairs by ourselves because we have the resources to do this. If they want to build a new market in our area, we will provide land for them but let them leave our ancestral market for us.”
Soundway All Onyekwere Nze, Celestine Agbiogwu and Mrs. Nkem Nwosu, who corroborated the views of Egbutu, warned the state government to drop the planned market demolition, stressing that doing otherwise would impose avoidable hardship on those whose means of livelihood depend on it.