Panic enveloped Enugu on Thursday as Hausa cattle Traders at the New Artisan Market attacked Police and government officials with AK-47 rifles.
CRIMECHANNELS gathered that the Police officers had gone to the site to enforce a court order obtained by the owners of the land in dispute, the Nwajanja family, that says the traders should vacate the place.
It was learnt that the Nwajanja’s had tried to several time in the past to drive the traders away but efforts to carry it out failed woefully.
The family’s determination to drive the Traders out on Thursday was futile yet again as the Police men that was brought by the family to drive the Traders were chased out of the land.
It was gathered that the Traders shot in the air indiscriminately to frighten the Police operatives and the family, and some government officials who accompanied them.
The Hausa Traders reportedly seized the Government bulldozer and damaged one Police Patrol van.
It was alleged that the Hausa Traders blocked the NNPC end of the Enugu/Port Harcourt expressway, stopping vehicular movement, just as they set up bonfires along the expressway.
The Commissioner of Police in Enugu State, Mohammed Aliyu, confirmed the incident to newsmen. He said that the incident was unfortunate and terrible.
He said, “I have ordered the immediate launch of a 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 4pm, on April 22, 2021.”
Meanwhile, the Police Public Relation Officer of Enugu State Police Command, ASP Daniel Ndukwe, in a statement confirmed the incident.
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 5 number of persons, vandalized 2 caterpillars that had gone to carry out the demolition exercise and set ablaze 3 vehicles.”
“Meanwhile, normalcy has been restored by Police Operatives, while 5 persons connected with the riotous act have been arrested and are helping ongoing investigation.”
He said that the Commissioner of Police 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, adding that necessary measures have been taken to forestall further occurrence of the riotous act.