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Shop closures: Normalcy returns to Enugu metropolis after traders protest




Economic activities have returned to the Enugu metropolis after protest by some traders from Ogbete Main Market, Enugu, against sealing of their shops by the state government.

The traders in the protest, which started at about 9a.m. and lasted for about three hours, stopped vehicular and human activities along the Market Road, Ogui Road, and Okpara Avenue.

They were chanting and carrying placards with inscriptions “Gov. Mbah Unseal Our Shops for Peace to Reign”, “We Are Not Under Your Employ”; “You Will Not Dictate for Us How We Manage Our Lives” and “Mind the Governance in the State and Let Us Be”.

Some shops and banks on the roads closed their businesses for fear of apparent attacks by protesters.

Reacting, the Police Public Relations Officer in the state command, DSP Daniel Ndukwe, who confirmed the protest, said that the police in collaboration with other security agencies had maintained law and order in the state.

The command advised the traders to channel their grievances through appropriate and legitimate quarters.

“Normalcy has been restored at Ogbete Market Enugu and its surroundings, following the report of protest by some traders over the sealing of their shops by the state government.

“It was alleged that those whose shops were sealed attempted to force others, whose shops were not sealed, to close theirs and the entire market and join in the protest.

The initially peaceful protest was however, hijacked and made to become violent.

‘Traders in the market and citizens alike have been pleaded with to remain law-abiding, peaceful and cooperative, while using approved channels to express their grievances.

‘Full-scale investigation has been initiated on the orders of the Commissioner of Police, while further development, especially as it concerns reports of alleged casualties being circulated, will be communicated as soon as possible,” he said.

Speaking, a trader, Mr Innocent Eke, said that they were protesting the forceful and illegal sealing and closure of many shops in the market for not opening for business on Monday.

“The government is the authority in the state, we all understand this; however, the law also specify government’s boundaries,” Eke said.

Another trader, Mazi Nnamdi Onyekachi, said, “this is a democracy and the government must be civil in its approach on issues affecting the people at all times.

A trader who simply identified himself as Emeka told NAN that the protest started when traders whose shops were sealed by the state government on Monday found their shops locked with different keys.

He said that angered by the development, they embarked on a protest condemning the government actions.

NAN recalled that Enugu State Government On Monday sealed over 100 shops including two banks for observing the banned illegal sit at home order.


Among the shops affected were 78 at Ogbete Main market, including two banks located inside the market, 24 at Old Artisan Market, five at the SPAR Mall.

The exercise was carried out by the state government led by the governor, Mr Peter Mbah and the Enugu Capital Territory Development Authority (ECTDA).

The Secretary to the State Government, Prof. Chidiebere Onyia, had in a statement on Tuesday in Enugu said that all businesses that were sealed shall remain sealed for one week.

According to him, at the end of one week, the owners shall provide their current tax clearance certificates and all other relevant revenue documents to enable the state government to review and consider their formal letters for re-opening.


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