BY OKONKWO EZE
ONITSHA — Business activities at Excellent Plaza mini market, near the Onitsha Main Market, were brought to an abrupt end, yesterday, when the leader of the market, Chief John Machi, and three others had their skulls ripped open with axes by armed men believed to be officials of Anambra State Traffic Agency, ASTA.
According to the source, troubled started when the ASTA officials stormed the mini market located along Sokoto road axis and started to impound traders’ wares, on the grounds that they were enforcing the state government’s ban on street trading in Onitsha.
According to the source, as the officials were impounding the wares, Machi, on a tip-off, rushed to the scene, demanding the reason for the impoundment, making the attackers to use their axes freely on him.
Traders and those whose wares were impounded on seeing that their chairman had been axed, rushed to save him but in the process, three of them were also hit with axes and they became unconscious for a while.
Sensing danger, the officials took to their heels with the impounded wares.
The injured leader was rushed to Waterside Hospital, Onitsha while the three others were taken to undisclosed hospitals.
Reacting to the incident, the Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, of the market, Mr. William Ugwu, said no reason was given by their assailants for impounding their wares and urged Governor Peter Obi to ensure that they were arrested to face the wrath of the law.
On his part, President of Ndigbo Unity Forum, Mr Augustin Chukwudum, expressed surprise at the illegal action of the ASTA officials, adding that its actions amounted to terrorism.
Meantime, the case has been lodged at Central Police Station, Onitsha as some policemen were sighted in the hospital interrogating the chairman.