Inside Abia: One Feared Dead As Abia State Vigilant Officer, Trader Clash Following Govt Revenue

Traders of Umuahia Industrial market in Abia state, popularly known as Timber market on Monday deserted the market due to
a face-off with security operatives which led to burning of the Abia Vigilante service office (bakassi) located in the market premises.

The face-off currently led to serious chaos in the market cited along Ahiaeke road in the state capital. gathered that the face-off was as a result of the disagreement between the traders and the Abia state internal revenue board who imposed an annual fee of N18,000 on the traders.

It was also gathered that the state revenue board ordered the traders to close down their shop from today, Monday, June 7, on their refusal to comply with the new revenue rate which the traders argued to be on the high side.

The Abia state vigilante(Bakassi) came to the market to effect the order given by the revenue board which resulted to a clash.

A trader in the market who spoke to our correspondence said ” we came here in the morning and waited for our market leaders to address us, in less than 30minutes, Bakassi operatives started shooting sporadically, that was around past 9am this morning, while we were also waiting for government representatives to speak to us.

“As the Bakassi operatives were shooting, the bullet hit two traders which left them dead while one with bullet wound was taken to the hospital for treatment”.

Another trader who was highly angered said “the Bakassi operatives are not protecting us. They were here when this market caught fire three times. We pay them every month to secure this market.

“When we hard gun shots we taught it was from the Nigerian Army. Suddenly we saw one Bakassi operative on a motorcycle shooting in straight direction, not that he pointed the gun upwards. I managed to dodged the bullet while taking cover with that car(he pointed).”

The aggrieved traders however added that it’s the leadership of the market that can give full details about the the levy fracas that led to the face-off.

The act by the vigilante provoked the marketers who retaliated by burning the vigilante office and vehicle.

The chairman of the market declined speaking on the matter as at the time of fileing this report.

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