Scores of married women from Owerri community in the Imo State capital on Thursday held protest against the move by the state government to relocate Ekeukwu Owerri Market on Douglas road to Egbeada in neighbouring Mbaitoli area.
The women dressed in black upon black attire marched through the major streets before assembled at Okigwe road roundabout opposite the Government House Owerri where they stayed for more three hours causing gridlock for motorists plying through that end of the town. Mrs Iheoma Anolu, President General of Owerri Women Organisation told journalists in Owerri that the group’s opposition to government’s plan was because it would adversely affect residents of Owerri.
“What we are asking is; does it mean that anytime we want to buy salt and pepper we move from Owerri to Egbeada market?
“The Owerri people are pleading with Gov. Rochas Okorocha to kindly allow Ekeukwu Owerri to be, if he wants to establish another market at Egbeada let him go ahead”, she said. Anolu described Ekeukwu Owerri as the ancestral market of Owerri people serving residents of Owerri Municipality, adding that other adjourning communities and Local Government Areas equally have their markets. Reacting to the protest, Mr Sam Onwuemeodo, the chief press secretary to Gov. Rochas Okorocha said that actions of the women were highly regrettable noting that it was painful that the women could be deceived into carrying out a protest that could rightly described as uncalled for. Onwemeodo said that it was wrong for the women to misunderstand the good intention to relocate Ekeukwu market to a better place. The chief press secretary noted that successive governments had tried to move the market out before now, but were unable to do so due to frustration occasioned by sponsored protests.
“The truth is that there is no patriotic citizen of the state that could oppose the relocation of the market except on ground of selfish interest. “In all considerations, the relocation of the Ekeukwu market is long overdue, with the rapid growth of Owerri into a model city it is no longer feasible to allow the Ekeukwu market to remain where it is at the moment”, Onwuemeodo concluded.