A section of Umuahia timber market, in Abia State, was razed by enraged mob, following the death of a trader, who was said to have been shot by a group of vigilante services.
The Timber market is located along Ahiaeke road, in Umuahia, the state capital of Abia.
An eyewitness who confirmed the crisis said, trouble started after traders refused to pay an annual levy of ₦18, 000, “imposed” by the Abia State Internal Revenue Board.
The source noted that the State revenue board ordered traders who refused to pay the levy to close down their shops.
It was said the affected traders resisted the vigilante group, when they came to the market to effect the order.
The source said, during the face-off, the vigilante operatives shot one of the traders identified as “Indomie,” who later died, while five (5) others sustained injuries.
Actions of the vigilante was said to have provoked the traders who retaliated by razing a section of the market, where the office of the local guard was located.
Whereas, Abia State Government, in reaction, condemned the destruction of the vigilante group.
The Secretary to the State Government, Chris Ezem, asked the police to commence investigation, in order to bring the culprits to justice.
The government further directed the officers, and the men of Abia vigilante service to withdraw from the market; while the leadership of the market has been enjoined to assist the police identify the arsonist.
The statement reads: “The impunity of burning buildings, and other public institutions must stop forthwith as arson remain a very serious crime against the state, and humanity, which attracts severe consequences under the law.
“Government will promptly discipline any Abia vigilante services personnel who harrases or intimidate citizens.”
Ijeoma Njoku reporting, Obinwannem News | June 8, 2021