Scene of Wednesday’s protest
The Enugu State Government says it has commenced investigation to unravel the circumstance surrounding the violent protest that enveloped Ogbete Main Market in the state capital on Wednesday which led to the death of unspecified number of persons, while several others sustained various degree of injuries.
The government in a statement signed by the Secretary to the State Government Professor Chidiebere Onyia, expressed grave concern over the incident, and called on the people and residents of Enugu to remain calm, and go about their lawful businesses.
The statement made available to SummitNews assured that adequate security measures are in place to secure lives and property in the state.
This is just as the Commissioner of Police (CP), Enugu State Command, Ahmed Ammani, has ordered full-scale investigation into the circumstances surrounding Wednesday’s violent protest at Ogbete Main Market.
The Command in a statement signed by Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Daniel Ndukwe, a deputy superintendent of police (DSP), said that the number of people either killed or wounded during the violent protest would be made public as soon as possible
According to Enugu State Government the crisis started when traders whose shops were sealed on the orders of the government for non-compliance with government’s order banning Monday sit-at-home, resorted to reopening their shops without following the rules and procedure enunciated by the government.
SummitNews recalls that shortly after assuming office on May 29, Enugu state Governor Peter Ndubuisi Mbah, banned the long-standing Monday sit-at-home in the state ordered by a faction of the proscribed Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB).
The governor similarly ordered civil and public servants in the state to report for work on Mondays, just as he instructed relevant government agencies to seal business premises and shops whose owners failed to open on Mondays.
The statement by the state government reads: “The Enugu State Government received with grave concern the ugly incident at Ogbete Main Market, Enugu, today.
“Information available to Government shows that traders whose shops were sealed for non-compliance with Government’s order banning Monday sit-at-home, defied the instruction on how the shops should be re-opened and resorted to self-help by removing the seals. This led to internal squabbles between the market leadership and some of the affected traders.
“The ensuing confrontation resulted in a protest, which was infiltrated and hijacked by dangerously armed hoodlums and miscreants, who broke shops and looted traders’ wares.
“In the meantime, investigation to unravel the circumstance surrounding the incident, including the reports of casualty, is already ongoing.
“Government calls on the people and residents of Enugu to remain calm and go about their lawful businesses, as adequate security measures are in place to secure lives and property in the State.
Ogbete Main Market
Meanwhile, the Police said normalcy has been restored at Ogbete Main Market, explaining that the crisis started when some traders whose shops were sealed attempted to force others whose shops were not sealed to close their shops and join the protest.
The Police further said that the initially peaceful protest was hijacked and “made to become violent.’
The police statement reads: “Normalcy has been restored at Ogbete Market Enugu and its surroundings, following the report of protest by some traders over the sealing of their shops by the State Government and their attempt to force others, whose shops were not sealed, to close theirs and the entire market closed. The initially peaceful protest was hijacked and made to become violent.
“Traders in the market and citizens alike have been pleaded with to remain law-abiding, peaceful and cooperative, while using approved channels to express their grievances.
“Full-scale investigation has been initiated on the orders of the Commissioner of Police, while further development, especially as it concerns reports of casualties being circulated, will be communicated as soon as possible.”