Thursday, 5 May 2016

Awka Residents Starved of Information As Newspaper Distributors, Vendors Embark on Industrial Action Over Alleged Ocha Brigade Mischief

One of the newspaper stands turned to shoe and bags sellers stand on Thursday

By Okechukwu Onuegbu

The readers of Newspapers in Awka, the capital of Anambra State were recently starved of the happenings in the country as the Newspapers Distributors and Vendors Association, Awka branch embarked on warning strike to press home their demands.

According to our reporter, who went round Awka on Thursday, April 5th, 2016, no single newspaper vendor was found by the road side in the capital city till 5Pm same day. On getting to the newspaper distributors office at Eke Awka main market, further learnt that the day’s various dailies were in bulk but members of the union were forbade from displaying and selling them.

On further attempt to purchase some copies of for a client, our publisher was ordered out of the place by the vendors, who further locked-up their newspapers warehouse and went for a meeting till our reporter left.

In an inquiry, a vendor, who spoke under the condition of anonymity said they even refused to supply newspapers to the state government house and other ministries and parastatals despite their threatening calls and text messages.

Speaking to, Mr Iwuagwu Ogbonna, the Chairman, Newspapers Distributors and Vendors Association, Awka branch explained that the industrial action was necessitated by incessant harassment, molestation, and seizure of their Newspapers, tables and umbrellas by men of Ocha Brigade led By Kenneth Okonkwo .

According to him, “We are on industrial action to press home our demands which is a total stop to the inhuman activities of Ocha Brigade on us. They have pushed us to the wall. They insisted that, the Newspaper Vendors should move into Eke Awka market and get a shop and display our products. They harass, molest, and seize our members Newspapers wares, tables and umbrellas. This is a regular occurrence of this group.

“The dangerous part, is that this group are always armed with weapon to chase and brutalised people at will. It is a well known fact that Newspaper Vendors have newsstands along the roads where they display their newspapers and magazines.
They must listen to us. Our business is essential. We can’t occupy shops at Eke Awka. They shouldn’t take such policy. We have been trying to dialogue with them but they seamed not to understand us for four days now. They don’t know that we are essential to the society. This steps they are following is wrong. The government must listen to us because they need us the way we need them.

“There must be cooperation between both of us. That is why we have embarked on strike. Once the papers did not get to them, they will ask reasons, and we will talk to them. Once resolved, we will return to the market. I believe that the government of Willie Obiano is responsible and will soon listen to us”.

Meanwhile all attempt to speak with Ocha Brigade leader, Chief Kenneth Okonkwo was in vain as he is yet to return our several calls to one of his numbers on Thursday. recalls that Ocha Brigade had in recent in time embarked on massive cleansing of Eke Awka market which is often blocked by sellers, petty traders and so on, thereby causing roadgridlock.



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