All major markets in the five South East states were yesterday shut by the leadership of the traders in protest against the relocation of some Boko Haram detainees to Ekwulobia Prison in Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State.

The Amalgamated Traders Association (AMATA) in the South East zone called yesterday’s protest, which was largely successful.

It directed all traders in the zone to close their shops on July 9 without recourse to any form of violence.

AMATA’s President General, Chief Okwudili Ezenwankwo Ewepudike and Secretary, Chief Chuma Eruchalu, had stated, “This is to inform all the traders in Anambra State and South East that all markets in the South East will remain closed tomorrow, Thursday, 9th July, 2015 so we can all embark on peaceful demonstration against Boko Haram detainees in Anambra State.”

AMATA expressed regret for all forms of inconveniences the order to close major markets across the South East zone might cause the people and other Nigerians living in the zone, stating that they must have to fight the course of injustice meted on their people through the transfer of Boko Haram detainees to Ekwuluobia Prison.

Consequently, trade, commerce and other forms of economic activities were yesterday paralysed in many big cities in the zone.

In Enugu, the Ogbete Main Market, the biggest market in the state, which supplies the food needs of the city dwellers and wares for other adjoining markets in the state and beyond, was completely shut down.

The largest market in West Africa, Onitsha Main Market, was a ghost of itself yesterday, as most traders in the market stayed indoors in compliance with the directive by AMATA.

Many traders from outside Anambra State who arrived Onitsha early to make their purchases were taken aback when the traders’ security operatives informed them that all the markets in the South East geo-political zone were closed down to drive home their opposition to the relocation of the Boko Haram suspects to Anambra State.

Some of the Onitsha traders, who were unaware of the closure, came early to open their shops, but were turned back by the market security personnel.

The closure, however, did not affect those trading on the streets as they were doing their businesses unmolested.

In Awka, however, some traders initially tried to challenge security operatives for forcing them to close markets, but order was restored after some heated arguments and they were allowed to display their wares.

The president of Anambra State Amalgamated Traders Association (ASMATA), Chief Okwudili Ezenwankwo, later led other officials to Ekwulobia where they marched through the streets. Markets in Nnewi were also shut.

The situation was the same in Owerri, Imo State; Aba in Abia State; Abakaliki in Ebonyi State, among others.

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