Traders at the Okija and Ikokwu markets have called on their market leaders to emulate The Anambra State Amalgamated Traders Association ASMATA which banned prayers in markets in Anambra and do same here in Rivers state.
Some of the Traders who spoke anonymously with our correspondent said the prayer thing has been turned to jamborees and competition among the pastors and ministers who have turned the praying session into a regular job around them.
One trader who identified himself as Mazi GAB Igweilo said, the prayer competition is becoming unbearable, sometimes we would be listening to one preacher and another one close by would use his megaphone to interrupt the prayers with declarations and we would just be answering amen.
Another trader Chibuike Okafor however warned the market union leaders to steer clear of spiritual things. ‘’he said let me tell you something this prayer we do here stops a lot of rubbish from happening, you know that some of these men are involved in money rituals so it’s this prayer that is keeping us’’
This is coming few hours after President the General of the Anambra State Amalgamated Traders Association ASMATA Ikechukwu Ekwegbalu announced this in Onitsha while addressing market union leaders.
He said the ban became necessary because politicians had hijacked the exercise.
“What we see now is extortion and conversion of prayer sessions into political rallies.
“This move became necessary because we have discovered that some overzealous people abuse this practice by extorting money from market men and women regularly.
“Some have turned the prayers into political jamborees and this is not healthy for the system.”
He urged chairmen of various market to take the information back to their domain and also called on ASMATA members to stop involving police or government officials in matters concerning them, saying they should report cases to the leaders of their markets.
‘’We should not allow a foreigner to decide our matter, we have culture and tradition in Igboland. We are from different places in Igboland but our value system remains the same. Let’s bring back the spirit of oneness for the sake our dear land and tackle our issues internally’’.