Over 200 youths suspected to be Ogbaru youths yesterday invaded the popular Ogboefere (household utensils) market in Onitsha, Anambra State, injuring 20 people.
Eyewitnesses said soldiers from the 302 Artillery Regiment, Onitsha, quelled the crisis.
They said the youths invaded the market to collect revenues from trucks, which were loading and offloading goods.
It was learnt that the traders resisted and this caused a free-for-all. The President of Household Utensils Dealers Multi Purpose Co-operative Society (HUDMCS), Livinus Obiegonu, lamented the development, which he said was worrisome.
“This market is known as one of the most peaceful markets in Anambra State but this was shattered yesterday when these youths swooped on us.
“They reeked of alcohol as they began to puncture and deflate vehicle tyres and removing vehicle plate numbers.
“They said we should pay amounts, ranging from N3,000 to N12,000 but we told them that this market is a co-operative society. That was when they began to attack us.”
The Commissioner for Transport, Chike Ohamobi, confirmed that some contactors were given authority to collect revenue from heavy-duty vehicles.
But he said they have a strict code of conduct guiding their operations.
Ohamobi said nobody was authorised to enter any market for vehicle revenue collection.
The Divisional Police Officer in charge of Okpoko, Ogbaru Division, Emeka Ugwu, said he was on official leave but some police sources confirmed the incident.