Suleiman Anyalewechi, Aba
The immediate past chairman of the Ariaria International Market Aba, Chief Chijioke Michael Amaku has absolved himself of allegations bordering on subversion, illegal collection of levies and attempts at compromising the integrity of the 2023 General Election, describing arrest and detention as the handiwork of his traducers who are out to build an unmerited political capital.
NewsCritic online reports that on June 2, the Deputy Governor of Abia State Engr Ikechukwu Emetu, had while on a tour of some major markets in the commercial hub of the state arrested Chief Amaku and scores of suspected touts and illegal fees collectors.
The former chairman was subsequently detained and interrogated for close to a week at the zone 9 Police Headquarters in Umuahia on alleged possession of several permanent voters’ card, PVCs, and other illegal activities.
Chief Amaku who walked to freedom a few days ago in an exclusive interview with the NewsCritic online in Aba on Wednesday, said he is innocent of all the allegations levelled against him, noting that his mission and desires have always been for a working Abia State and an Ariaria market that can operate within global best standards.
“In the first place, I was appointed acting chairman on March 7 and was confirmed on March 31st. I did not access the office of the chairman of the market until the day of my inauguration on April 4. The last general elections held between February 25 for presidential and March 18 governorship. The point here is that I only officially entered the office of the chairman after the elections.
If PVCs are stored in there, I don’t think it concerns me. What will I be doing with PVCs after the elections? I don’t know anything about the PVCs which they found in the office of the chairman, as I only assumed office weeks after the elections.
And for the collection of illegal levies, let me state here that in keeping with the directives of the past administration of Dr Okezie Ikpeazu that levies, especially security levy should be suspended in January, we never collected any”.
We only started to ask people to pay when the government gave the nod last month. So, the issue of illegal revenue collection does not arise. I believe that everything happening now is the handiwork of detractors most of who are pursing some selfish interests. For the period I found myself as the chairman, I clearly defined my mission and goals to include a better Ariaria market and a working Abia state believing that we are at the Ariaria primarily to work with any government in place to develop the market. We are not politicians, but are business people and are supposed to work with the government of the day,” Amaku stated.
An impeccable source however informed NewsCritic online that the contentious PVCs may have been those whose original owners did not show up during the time the late Augustine Emeka Igara led Ariaria Market officials decided to facilitate a seamless collection of the PVCs following the difficulties most electorates had in collecting their cards before the elections.