Gun-wielding cattle dealers attack police, commuters - Enugu New Artisan Market
Tiamiyu Saheed Oluwatosin
Tension was high in Enugu State on Thursday, following a reported refusal of cattle dealers to vacate the New Artisan Market.
Press learnt that there was a court order obtained by the owners of the land in dispute, the Nwajanja family, but several efforts to enforce it in the past failed.
The family was said to have moved into the place with a team of policemen to enforce the order on Thursday but they were resisted, with some of the traders allegedly shooting AK-47, chasing the family and security men away in the process.
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The Hausa traders reportedly seized the Government bulldozer and chased away the police that accompanied the team.
The gun wielding traders blocked the NNPC end of the Enugu/Port Harcourt expressway, stopping vehicular movement, just as they set up bonfires along the expressway.
Confirming the incident, the Commissioner of Police, Enugu State Command, CP Mohammed Ndatsu Aliyu ordered the immediate launch of thorough investigation “to fish out and bring to book, miscreants whose acts of violence led to the sustaining of injuries by innocent citizens, vandalism and burning of vehicles at New Artisan Market, along Enugu/Port-Harcourt Expressway, Enugu at about 4.00pm of today, 22/04/2021.”
In a statement by the Command’s Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Daniel Ndukwe, he said, “Preliminary investigation reveals that the unscrupulous elements within the Market, became riotous and resisted the execution of a Court Order issued by High Court of Enugu State, authorizing the demolition of structures and possession of the land area covering the Market by Nwajanja Family of Akpugo in Nkanu West L.G.A. of the State.
“It further shows that the unwarranted rioters set up burn-fires on the road, obstructed vehicular movement, injured unascertained number of persons, vandalized two (2) caterpillars that had gone to carry out the demolition exercise and set ablaze three (3) vehicles.
“Meanwhile, normalcy has been restored by Police Operatives, while five (5) persons connected with the riotous act have been arrested and are helping ongoing investigation.
“Consequently, the Commissioner has enjoined law-abiding members of the public, especially those plying the NNPC Mega Station axis of Enugu/Port-Harcourt Expressway, to go about their lawful businesses without fear of intimidation or harassment, as necessary measures have been taken to forestall further occurrence of the riotous act.
Meanwhile, it was initially reported that the exercise was led by the Enugu Capital Territory Development Authority, ECTDA.
However, Dr. Joseph Onoh, ECTDA Executive Chairman, in a statement absolved the agency.
He said in a statement he personally signed, “The Attention of Enugu Capital Territory Development Authority (ECTDA) has been drawn to the authority’s name being peddled in connection with the Thursday, April 22 2021 incident at the closed New Artisan market.
“Recall that the state government had in some years past shut down the new Artisan Market.
“ECTDA has been inundated with calls on inquiries, regarding a demolition said to had been carried out at the previous market.
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“The Agency, in spite of that, wishes to state that it is not aware of any enforcement at the New Artisan market, nor has it received any petition to that effect.
“Let it also be known that the ECTDA was not part of whatever activity that took place at New Artisan and do not have any business with whatsoever activity there.
“The general public should please be informed.”
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