By Emmanuel Acha
Enugu, June, 18, 2021 Traders and civil rights group in Enugu State have expressed worry over the practice of shutting down markets in the state during political rallies.
Reacting to the development, an Enugu-based Non-Governmental Organisation, Civil Rights Realisation and Advancement Network (CRRAN) described it as a rights infringement.
The President of CRRAN, Mr Olu Omotayo told newsmen in Enugu on Friday that it was an action capable of impugning the economic rights of residents of the state.
Recall that traders of major markets in Enugu were directed to shut their shops and report to Okpara Square for the Thursday rally organised by Enugu East Senatorial District.
Omotayo said that it was worrisome that such orders that limited people’s rights were still prevalent under a democratic government.
He also said that the compulsion and arbitrariness of such orders affected the people’ freedom of association and the movement right of persons.
“Freedom is the hallmark of democracy but when you arbitrarily limit the people’s access to their sources of livelihood, that alone is economic sabotage.
“Such actions affect the economic rights of citizens and infringe on some provisions of the African Charter on Human Rights which Nigeria is signatory to,” he said.
Omotayo advised the state government as well as the leadership of market unions in the state to eschew sycophancy and respect the economic rights of the people.
“The citizens should know their fundamental human rights and be determined not to obey such orders that infringe on such rights,” Omotayo said.
Meanwhile, some traders at Ogbette Main Market, Enugu have expressed their frustrations over the constant closure of the market during political rallies.
One of the traders, Mr Camillus Eneh told NAN that they were instructed not to open their shops on Thursday and to report to Okpara Square for the rally.
Eneh said that traders needed to be left alone in such programmes as they were not politicians.
“Many of us in this market are not interested in what they are doing and I wonder why they will always force us to close our shops while they are doing their own business,” Eneh said.
Also, Mrs Monica Egwu, a dealer on food items, said that most traders that dealt on perishable goods were the worst hit in such situations.
Egwu said that most of them had in the past lost several thousands of naira in such situations, adding that the government needed not encourage such practice.
Rights group, traders kick as markets shut over political rally in Enugu
By Emmanuel Acha