Unknown gunmen has attacked some members of Ogbete Main Market Traders Association in Enugu State, who were protesting the alleged refusal of the former Caretaker Committee Chairman, John Eze, to vacate office.
Eze, who had served out his appointment as the Caretaker Committee Chairman of the market for a period of two years and four months, was directed by Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi to vacate the office since December 31, 2019.
The former Caretaker Committee Chairman, who was not a trader in the market prior to his appointment, was earlier directed by the governor to conduct elections into the leadership positions in the market before vacating the office but declined.
Following Eze’s disobedience to the governor’s directives to vacate the office by December 31, 2019, some aggrieved leaders and traders staged a protest against the sit-tight posture of the former Caretaker Committee Chairman.
However, before the placard-carrying protesters could take-off from their meeting point at Akwata section of the market, hefty-looking bandits numbering about 10 unleashed terror on them.
Before the police could intervene, eight of the protesters have been seriously injured, with bloodstains all over them.
One of the injured traders, who gave his name as Chief Friday Ani, told The PUNCH that as they were sharing leaflets to traders to stop paying revenue to the former Caretaker Committee Chairman, bandits led by one Kasie descended on them.
“We were protesting against the refusal of the Caretaker Committee Chairman of Ogbete Market whom the Governor had directed to leave our market when arm-wielding men unleashed terror on me and others.”
Another injured trader, who gave his name as Ignatius Edeh, said, “as a trader in Ogbete Market, I saw the need to join the protest organised against the former caretaker committee chairman.
“The man has refused to leave office because of the money he is getting from the marketers. So, while we were sharing leaflets to traders I saw one Kasia with some armed boys hitting me from the back. You can see for yourself what they did to me. It took the intervention of men from the police headquarters to save.”
Our correspondent report that the injured traders were taking to the police clinic at the state police headquarters for treatment.
Several attempts to speak with the former Caretaker Committee Chairman, Eze, on the incident proved abortive as calls to his mobile and text messages were not answered.
Meanwhile, the state Police Public Relations Officer, Dan Ndukwe, confirmed the incident but could not provide further details.
He said the police was on top of the situation.