Traders in Ogbete Main Market, Enugu on Thursday embarked on a peaceful protest to the office of Enugu State Commissioner of Police over the alleged invasion of the market by suspected hoodlums.
The alleged attackers, whom the traders said were suspected cultists, critically injured four traders during their invasion of the market in the morning.
Those injured were given medical attention at the Police Command Headquarters’ Hospital, Enugu.
Ukwunna Ogbonna, the leader of Ogbete Youth Empowerment, said the traders were meeting to fashion a way forward for the market’s forthcoming election when some 15 hoodlums stormed the venue.
Ogbonna, who led the protest, said the suspects brandished pistols at will and used chairs to hit some of the critically injured traders.
He said: “We seriously believe that the market’s Caretaker Executive Committee Chairman, John Eze, who Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi directed to vacate office on or before December 31, 2019, is a perpetrator of the attack on the traders.
“Eze and his cohorts should allow the already set up market Electoral Committee go on with the conduct of the election as directed by Ugwuanyi.
“We have resolved today that no more revenue collection in Ogbete Market until election is conducted.”
Responding, Eze said the allegations were false, adding that their leaders, numbering about five, had been causing trouble in the market for sometime and wanted to overthrow constituted authority in the market.
He further explained: “Today, they started ringing bells in the market very early in the morning and telling the traders not to obey the leadership of the market anymore.
“While internal security in the market tried to stop them from this illegality they were carrying out; they decided to fight with them before a good number of policemen, DSS and Civil Defence officials came to restore calm in the market.”
However, at the time of sending this report, some elderly traders and injured traders of the market were meeting with the Commissioner of Police, Ahmed Abdurrahman, in his office on the matter.