No fewer than two traders protesting against the sealing of their businesses in Ogbete Main Market for not coming to market on Monday by the Enugu State have been reported killed by security operatives.
Several other marketers were also injured during the protest which has now led to the indefinite closure of the market by Governor Peter Mbah-led government.
The PUNCH had reported that the governor has declared war on businesses that comply with the sit-at-home order, which the Indigenous People of Biafra, imposed in the South East region to demand the release of their leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.
Kanu has been in the detention facility of the Department of State Services since June 2021.
Mbah sealed several shops, malls, and banks on Monday, which he accused of observing the “illegal sit-at-home”.
Justifying the sealing of private businesses, Mbah in a statement issued on Tuesday, which was signed by the Secretary to the state government, Prof Chidiebere Onyia, said the sealed businesses would remain closed for one week.
He also said owners of businesses sealed must provide their current tax clearance certificates and all other relevant revenue documents at the end of one week to enable the state government to review and consider their formal letters for re-opening otherwise they would be auctioned or permanently forfeited to the state government.
However, our correspondent gathered on Wednesday that trouble started when traders whose shops were sealed told market leadership that their shops must be unsealed for business or those unsealed will not open for business.
A trader in the market, who gave his name as Gerald Ede told our correspondent that the insistence of traders that other shops will not open led to a protest.
“Shortly, soldiers and hundreds of policemen were deployed to the market by the governor. They came in and started shooting sporadically chasing people out and locking their shops. In the confusion, soldiers shot two traders dead inside the market. I escaped unhurt by only the Grace of God,” he said.
A police officer who confirmed the incident told our correspondent that it was unfortunate.
The officer told our correspondent that the governor ordered security agencies to ensure that no trader is seen inside Ogbete Main Market and that triggered the shooting when they refused to vacate the market.
“I am in the market with my DPO, soldiers and so many other security agents. Ogbete Main Market has been shut down. There’s no single soul in the market as I speak to you.
“I learned that two traders were shot dead by soldiers. I am inside the market and I can’t confirm the killing but I heard about it.”
The State Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Daniel Ndukwe, confirmed that there was a protest over the sealing of businesses by the government.
Ndukwe who spoke to our Correspondent on the telephone, said he cannot confirm whether any traders but insisted “there is protest by traders in Ogbete Market and police, soldiers and other sister security agencies had been deployed in the market forestall breakdown of Law and Order.”