Tension Rises in Anambra as ACTDA Raids Newspaper Vendors

Tension Rises in Anambra as ACTDA Raids Newspaper Vendors

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Anxiety gripped Anambra State on Thursday, February 15, as Awka Capital Territory Development Authority (ACTDA) officials embarked on a spree of newspaper destruction and assaults on vendors.

Eyewitnesses reported that the officials showed blatant disregard for the vendors’ rights, suggesting that any grievances be left to divine intervention, as they claimed the state government prohibited street newspaper sales. Notably, newspapers such as The Nation, The Sun, Vanguard, Punch, and Guardian bore the brunt of the destruction.

The ACTDA operatives went further to assault individuals at the bustling Aroma junction, including security personnel, and vandalized the vendors’ Point of Sale (PoS) machines.

The brazen actions of the ACTDA drew condemnation from passersby and local traders, who showered curses on the perpetrators. Vendors, outraged by the incident, have vowed to suspend newspaper sales until there is a change in the administration of Governor Soludo.

In addition to destroying the vendors’ stalls and confiscating their umbrellas, the authorities have come under scrutiny for their heavy-handed tactics, prompting concerns from lawmakers. Last week, members of the state assembly advocated for the establishment of mini markets to provide alternative spaces for street traders, addressing the root causes of the issue.

Henry Mbachu, the legislator representing Awka South 1 Constituency, highlighted the rising poverty rate and emphasized the necessity of creating opportunities for livelihoods within the state.

While Soludo’s Press Secretary, Christian Aburime, expressed ignorance of the situation, he pledged to liaise with the agency’s managing director. He reiterated the government’s commitment to maintaining cleanliness but emphasized the need to balance enforcement with livelihood considerations, citing the existence of newspaper vendors in designated areas in Lagos.

Amidst the chaos, an ACTDA official purportedly affirmed the governor’s backing for their actions, dismissing potential repercussions and asserting impunity.

The crackdown by ACTDA has not only targeted newspaper vendors but also affected petty traders across the streets of Anambra as part of the government’s “keep Anambra clean” initiative.

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