The Anambra State Amalgamated Traders Association (ASMATA) has banned daily and weekly prayers in all markets in the state.
ASMATA President General, Chief Ikechukwu Ekwegbalu announced this while addressing chairmen and secretaries of various market unions yesterday.
Chief Ekwegbalu , who said that prayers would be conducted only once a month, alleging that some church leaders has converted the prayer sessions as a means of extortion.
Ekwegbalu said: “This ban became very necessary because we have discovered that some overzealous persons abuse this practice by extorting market men and women regularly of their hard-earned resources.
“Some have turned the prayers into a somewhat political jamboree and this is not healthy for the system.
“All market leaders are expected to meet with the traders and unanimously agree on a suitable date to observe the monthly prayers within a stipulated time between 7am and 10am.”
Ekwegbalu also tackled security personnels or Ministry of Trade and Commerce officials that bloat matters that could have been handled internally out of proportion.
He advised members to seek redress through appropriate means whenever such cases arise.
Addressing the market men, the state Commissioner for Trade, Commerce, Markets and Wealth Creation, Dr. Christian Madubuko urged the market leaders to block all revenue leakages across the markets.
Dr. Madubuko warned that any attempt to divert revenues from the markets amounted to stalling the progress of the state.
He charged the traders to pay their revenues promptly and desist from diverting revenues.