A security man was reportedly injured by suspected hoodlums during the demolition of structures at Modebe Shopping Plaza in Onitsha, Anambra state.
Traders in the market had been ordered to relocate to a new market built for provision and cosmetics in Ogbunike, Oyi local government area of the state.
The victim was said to have been injured while attempting to stop the hoodlums from looting properties in the shops.
Taskforce and joint security team of Army, police, Civil Defense and Vigilance group had stormed the plaza with bulldozers to demolish some structures in the market.
The situation created tension as heavy security men who blocked the entrance of the plaza shot indiscriminately to scare the traders away.
The demolition reportedly took the traders who traveled for the Christmas celebration unawares as they came back to find their shops turned to rubble.
Some traders were seen removing their wares affected by the demolition while others were disallowed entrance to their shops.
Chairman of the Ministry of Commerce Taskforce, Mr. Celestine Anere said the ministry of Trade and Commerce had informed the traders to relocate to the new market but they refused which informed their action.
He said, “The Taskforce seized the opportunity to demolish illegal structures along the major roads and street for easy flow of traffic.
“The exercise is to decongest the roads and to ensure business is conducted in orderly manner in the market not along the road which constitute nuisance.
But some traders and leadership of the Article Dealers Association, Modebe plaza expressed shock on the invasion of the shops by the security agents ordering them to relocate or seize to do business at the plaza.
One of them, Mr. Beed Iwunze wondered why government wanted to force them to move to a market where they had no shop.
He said, “We are not part of those who built market at Ogbunike for provision and cosmetics but had acquired land for our own market since we are into article trading.
“Where do they want us to move to? We don’t sell provision and cosmetics, we sell articles, how can they force us to move to market we did not built to become tenant?
“They should force the union that built the market to move to the place not us because we have a place acquired to built our own market.
“We just came back from festivities and hope to pay our children school fees through our businesses this January but to our greatest surprise some of us were still in the village yet to return back and our shops were demolished.
“Those around were stopped from opening their shops for business, they ordered us to move to the new market.”