Women traders at the Ngwa Road market, popularly known as Ahia Ohuru, took to the streets to protest the imposition of N3,000 tax per person by unknown authorities that claim to have been mandated by Abia State Government. This incident was reminiscent of the 1929 Aba Women riot , which was also a reaction against imposition of tax on women in the commercial city by the colonial administration.
An unconfirmed source said the state Board of Int
ernal Revenue had, last week, announced that it would embark on market to market tax collection drive to boost the financial base of the state.
Daily Sun learnt that a town crier had earlier gone round the Ngwa Road market announcing that the market would be closed and advised traders, most of who are women to use the day to go and pay their taxes.
As the town crier was going round the market making the announcement, the women complained that they had just paid a levy of N700 each two weeks earlier which they said the market leaders told them was used to provide fire extinguisher in the market.
On Thursday morning the women numbering over 2,000 gathered at the Ngwa Road side of the market and from there marched through the major streets of Aba, chanting war songs and calling the Chairman of NGWAMATA, Chief Ifeanyi Ojukwu, who they accused of fronting for the state government, unprintable names.
The leader of the women, who did not want to mention her name for fear of attacks on her person later, accused Chief Ojukwu of conniving with higher authorities to impose tax on women, even as they vowed to resist the move.
She claimed that each woman in the market was asked to pay N3,000.000 as tax whether you are an apprentice trader or not. According to her, â€œWomen in Aba will resist any attempt by government to impose any form of tax on them. If the authorities concerned do not rescind its decision, what happened in Aba in 1929 will be a childâ€™s play.â€
When our correspondent visited the office of the Board of Internal Revenue in Aba no senior official was seen as they had hurriedly locked up their offices, even as the junior ones seen around said they were civil servants who were barred from speaking to the press.
Also attempt made to reach the NGWAMATA chairman, Chief Ojukwu failed as he did not respond to calls on his mobile phone.