There is palpable fear in Anambra State following plans by the state government to eject widows from the Cooperative Society market in Ogbaru local government area of the State.
Commissioner for Commerce, Industry, Markets and Wealth Creation, Uchenna Okafor, had threatened to sack traders in the market located on the Onitsha/Asaba Expressway and dominated by widows who deal mostly in perishables.
A patron of Anambra State Markets Amalgamated Traders Association (ASMATA), Chief Rommy Ezeonwuka warned against ejecting the widows from the place.
Addressing newsmen on Tuesday in Onitsha, Ezeonwuka described the widows as “spirits and untouchable”.
He said, “90 percent of the traders in the market are widows who sell perishables. Some of them are spirits and whoever that inflicts pains on them will have repercussion.
“They have no husbands to assist them but rely upon God for whatever obstacle that may come their way. It is from the market they have their daily bread to fend for their families”.
Ezeonwuka, a chieftain of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) recalled how a former commander of Operation Clean and Healthy Anambra Brigade who tried to eject the widows from the market could not live to tell his story.
“Nobody who touches the widows will go scot-free because God is there for them as their husband.”
He said the market remained ideal for the widows in view of its proximity to their residences.
“Most of them live in Okpoko and relocating them to a new site will be inconvenient for them to trade due to distance, lack of security and good infrastructure,” he added.
No fewer than 3,000 widows trading in the market had few months ago protested over the alleged ejection plan.
They had petitioned the wife of the state governor, Chief Mrs Ebelechukwu Obiano, to save them from the ejection plan.
“We are crying for an urgent attention to our plights in the hands of people who want to eject us from our market,” the petition partly read.