Anambra State Government has sealed off Odera Shopping Complex/Market, Awka, following alleged disappearance of the Chairman, Emmanuel Nwonwu, who is being quizzed to explain allegations of non-remittance of market levies to the government coffers.

The shutting was at the instance of tax/revenue compliance enforcement team of Anambra Internal Revenue Service (AIRS), operating through a task force called Unified Hybrid Enforcement Team (UHBET), Anambra Central Zone, led by Evaristus Offor.

The government officials were reportedly shocked by some of the traders’ demands for the unsealing of the market, who claimed to be faithful to paying their fees/levies to the government through their chairman.

Our correspondent gathered that trouble started when government enforcement team demanded to see the market chairman to ascertain the veracity of the traders’ claims that they did not owe, but Nwonwu was not seen at the market.

While the chairman’s phone was said to have rung out after several calls were placed to him by government officials, his deputy, Chief Ikechukwu Ugwuoke, reportedly assembled some stakeholders and traders for a chat with the officials.

Our correspondent learnt the meeting yielded fruits, with decision of temporary unsealing of the market, while the chairman should be given up till Monday (today), to appear before government officials at AIRS (Revenue House) with receipts of purportedly-made payments, failing which the market would be re-sealed.

Speaking to reporters, Ugwuoke described the market closure as double tragedy, which he attributed to “insensitive” attitude of Nwonwu to the traders’ plight who, he said, had been witnessing business decline, occasioned by prevailing harsh economic conditions.

He thanked government officials for un-sealing the market, stressing that time had come for stakeholders and traders to take their destinies in their hands.

Secretary of Odera Market, Emeka Nwagbala, confirmed that some traders paid, but were not given receipts. He said the development was not in line with the provisions of market’s constitution and accounting principle.


The pioneer Chairman of the market, Ozo Chinweze Ijomah, accused Nwonwu of running the market as a private entity and frustrating efforts to hold election over two years after expiration of his tenure.

He sought Governor Chukwumah Soludo’s intervention, including setting up of an audit panel to examine administrative and financial condition of the market for the 10 years Nwonwu held sway.

A stakeholder at the market, Humphrey Onuorah, alleged that Nwonwu had been accused of running the market without bank account and signatories, as provided by the constitution.

Onuorah, one-time chairman of Task Force on Security Fee Collection, confirming he paid for 2023, showed the paper issued to him by Nwonwu as evidence of payment receipt, pending issuance of official receipt, but it was rejected by government officials as unacceptable.

He accused Nwonwu of high-handedness, divide-and-rule-tactics, arms-twisting running illegal administration, corrupt tendencies, arbitrary collection of revenue without issuance of receipts and failure to account for his stewardship, threats to opponents’ lives, among others.

He called on the government to set up a caretaker committee to run the market and set machinery in motion for the conduct of election at the market.

The Nation



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