Some officials of the Enugu State government were reportedly attacked by some Hausa cattle traders on Thursday while discharging their duties.
It was gathered that the incident happened when the government officials and some officers of the Nigeria Police Force visited the New Artisan Market yesterday to carry out a demolition following an order from the state high court.
The court had declared the market as a security threat due to its proximity to the government house, hence the verdict for demolition. The cattle traders according to reports, also destroyed the police vehicle during the chase.
Further reports alleged that the Hausa traders fiercely resisted the government officials as they brought out several AK-47 rifles to attack the policemen accompanying the government officials, bringing the attempt to demolish the market to a halt.
Speaking on the incident, an eyewitness who gave his name as Sampson Okorie, told newsmen that the gun-wielding Hausa traders also seized two bulldozers the state government deployed to the market and destroyed police Hilux vehicle. The vehicle, according to him, was abandoned by the police, who ran for their lives when they could not escape with it.
“I was opposite the market when four police vehicles with about 10 policemen arrived at the place with people suspected to be government officials. Earlier in the day, two bulldozers were deployed to the area,” the eyewitness told PUNCH correspondent.
He added; “Shortly after the police arrived, there were gunshots in the air. I came out from the shop where I was and saw people scampering for safety. The policemen were also running.
“The next thing I saw was gun-wielding traders, who came out and blocked the NNPC end of the Enugu-Port Harcourt expressway and stopping vehicular movement, just as they set up bonfires along the expressway. When the atmosphere became tense, I moved out of the area.”
The state Commissioner of Police, Mohammed Aliyu, while confirming the incident to reporters on telephone interview described the action of the traders as unfortunate.
Aliyu noted that the traders had a meeting with the State Governor, Mr Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, on Wednesday night, when they agreed to move out of the market on Thursday.