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A’Ibom traders beg gov Eno to enforce ban on market unions

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Traders in Akwa Ibom State have appealed to Governor Umo Eno to create a task force to enforce his order banning market cartels, unions, and cabals.

This appeal is aimed at reducing the high prices of food in the state. According to LEADERSHIP news, these market groups have significantly increased food prices in major markets like Akpan-Andem, Etuk Street Market, and others in Uyo, as well as the Itam International Market in Itu local government area.

Adealer in crayfish, fish, and other seafood, Mrs. Mayen Etuk, shared her frustration in an interview. “The union officials have made nonsense of our businesses. They have the powers to fix days for people to sell their goods and the price for every commodity. I deal in frozen fish, fruits, and vegetables, but it’s the union that decides when to come to the market and sell your items. Sometimes my goods perish because there is no standby electricity to store them until the next market day,” she lamented.

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Etuk further explained, “They are the ones to fix the price of your items and the quantity for a particular price. The high cost would scare customers, and you return home with the goods or take them to local markets to sell at a reduced cost, sometimes without profit to avoid perishing.”

Etuk urged the government to act, saying, “If the government really wants to liberate us, the governor, as a father, should follow it up with a task force to effectively enforce the directive. Otherwise, the touting system and the profiteers would continue with their nefarious activities.”

Prices of staple foods have skyrocketed, with garri selling for N200 a cup, beans N500 a cup, and rice N400 a cup. This situation has led to a potential humanitarian crisis.

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To address this, Governor Eno directed the State traders’ association through his Senior Special Assistant on Market Matters, Akparawa Idorenyin Raphael, “to put an end to forceful market unions in the State, in order to alleviate the sufferings of Akwa Ibom market people.”

Over the weekend, the State market monitoring team visited several markets, including Urua Akpan Andem and Urua Mbakara in Uyo, and other markets in Ikot Ekpene. Akparawa Raphael emphasized that no trader should be forced to join any market union, warning that such acts are punishable by law.

“The leadership of Akwa Ibom State traders had agreed that no one should be forced to be part of any union,” Raphael said. “Pastor Umo Eno has seen that things are difficult already for anyone to be forced to join any group. No one should be bullied, and if the bully is caught, such a person will be treated like a criminal.”

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Raphael added, “There are no more regulated market days. Anyone has the right to bring anything to the market to sell. Bring your wares and come to the market any day you like. Nobody should stop you from selling any day you want to. Sellers are permitted to report such persons to the market president or the nearest police station. Governor Umo Eno does not want people to pass through added stress in these trying times. So, I urge everyone to abide by the rules of the Akwa Ibom market association.”

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