Members of Imo State Amalgamated Market and Traders Association (ISAMATA) on Friday took to the streets to protest against the ongoing strike by civil servants in the state.
They lamented that the strike has compounded the hardship they are currently facing..
The traders regretted that the hardship they are passing through as a result of high cost of fuel, cash crunch due to the Naira redesign policy and lack of power supply has worsened following the strike.
President of ISAMATA, Ezeanochie Emmanuel described the National President of Nigeria Labour Congress, Joe Ajaero as an unreasonable person for calling out the workers to go on strike in Imo State when there was no need for such.
Emmanuel insisted that their members would resist any plan to truncate peace in the state.
Also speaking, the ISAMATA Chairmen for Orlu zone, Mgbemere Udoka; Owerri zone, Okoko David and Okigwe zone, Ezeigwe Chikwendu, the leader of Hausa Traders, Abdul Ibrahim and the Secretary of ISAMATA Imo State Chris Okere, urged government to stop Ajaero from playing politics with Imo people.
They said cutting off electricity in the state has led to damages to their perishable goods such as fish, tomatoes and onions.
Addressing the protesting traders, the state Deputy Governor, Prof. Placid Njoku, assured the leadership and members of ISAMATA of standing with them in their move towards resisting man-made difficulties they are facing in the state currently that make life unbearable for traders.
The Deputy Governor reminded the traders that “the Government of Senator Uzodimma has the welfare of the people as its primary business and will not stand by to see anybody come to Imo State to impose hardship on her citizens.”
He said: “The 3R administration is a government that likes to see hardworking people such as ISAMATA get benefit for their hard work. The government will be happy that genuine traders make gains from their businesses, that civil servants get their salaries and entitlements at the end of the month and in the same manner pensioners get their full month pensions at the end of every month.”
Prof Njoku added that the government has been sensitive to the need of the people, reiterating that Governor Uzodimma had asked him to inform ISAMATA that “his government will stand up to resist any directive or order coming from anywhere that will impinge on the freedom and welfare and even livelihood of Imo citizens.”
Prof. Njoku said it was “regrettable and unfortunate that the recent directive for workers to go on strike, that electricity should be cut off from Imo people and that filling stations should close to make things unbearable for Imo people, is coming from an Imo son who stays somewhere and dished out offensive directives.”
He warned that wherever Joe Ajero may be hiding, he should be made to understand that there is a Government in Imo State and that Imo people have suffered enough from the time of Covid-19 to EndSARS to banditry and unknown gunmen and now to the present circumstances, “and as a matter of fact nobody will be allowed to come to Imo State to add more harm to Imo people.”
The Deputy Governor urged the traders to go back to their work and businesses, reminding them that “some of the problems such as the high price of fuel and the Naira redesign were not caused by the Imo State Government, rather by prevailing circumstances all over the federation.”