No fewer than 10 persons were wounded Saturday afternoon, while goods worth millions of naira were destroyed following a stampede that resulted due to sporadic shooting by unknown gun men at the Bridge Head Drug Market former as Onitsha Patent and Proprietary Medicine Dealers Union, OPPMDU Onitsha.
Trouble resulted Saturday afternoon at about 12.50 pm when some youths wilding gun invaded the market, allegedly led by a contestant of anti-fake and substandard drug taskforce Chairman for the market, known as Anambra State Taskforce against Fake and Counterfeit
The taskforce was said to have been led by Mr Chibuzor Nwokege (aka Obele Prince) before he was removed by the former Commissioner for Commerce, Trade and Wealth Creation, Dr Christian Madubuko, and replaced with Mr Emeka Ezeanyika.
The replacement was said to have not gone down well with Mr Nwokeji who was said to have been kicking and working to have his way back to the office, and while his successor Mr Ezeanyika is said to be favourably disposed with Dr Madubuko who on his new appointment as the state Commissioner for Transport, handed him over to his successor, Mr Uchenna Okafor.
However, Mr Nwokeji in a letter signed by the Chief of Staff to Governor Willie Obiano Mr Primus Odili, dated 20th November 2019 and copied to the Commissioner for Trade and Commerce, terminated Ezeanyika’s appointment asking him to hand over the office property including a Tayota Siena car attached to his office to the Secretary Mr. Nwokeji.
The letter from Mr Odili to Ezeanyika read: ‘Re termination of your interim appointmen’t “In pursuance of letter dated 3rd July, 2019 on the above, wherein you were appointed by the former Commissioner for Trade and Commerce, to take over in the interim the office of Taskforce from Chibuzor Nwokeji, (aka Obeke Prince) who was officially appointed by the Chief of Staff to the Governor to take charge the secretariat of State Taskforce on Fake and Adulterated Drugs in Anambra State, your said appointment is hereby terminated and seizes to have no effect.
This directive also did not go down well with Mr Ezeanyika who insists that it was an illegality for Mr Odili who did not give him the job to terminate his appointment, adding that Mr Nwokeji who should not have been the proper person to hand over the termination of appointment letter to him, being the purported person to replace him, insisting that whatever termination letter to him must come from the new Commissioner for Trade and not the Chief of Staff to the Governor, Mr Odili.
According to an eye witness and leader of the Concerned Ogbogwu Market Traders Association, Mr Emmanuel Ozoemenam, called on Governor Obiamo to intervene in the market before somebody is killed in the market.
According to him, “there was peace in the market and traders were going about their legitimate businesses before sporadic shootings by strange faces and there was stampede and traders started running for their lives.
“As a result of the stampede, more than 10 traders sustained injuries, goods worth millions of Naira were destroyed, we do not know what our market has become, people flaunt all kinds of authority letters from government officials to head one taskforce or the ot her.
“Our market has become where somebody in Government House, Awka will write a letter and give their friends to start one activity or the other without the consent of the leadership of the market, they now do business with us in the name of controlling one task force or the other.”
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