From Ikenna Maxwell
After the crisis that led to the attack on the Chairman of Onitsha South Local Government Council, Ann Chukwuneke, the embattled local government boss has denied reports in a section of the media that over 50 persons were injured in the fracas. She described as untrue the report that about 20 shops were also destroyed at the Millennium Merchants and Importers Association Markets in Onitsha.
She said she was on a visit to decongest the market and stop roadside trading to make for free flow of traffic when she was attacked by the traders who were bent on killing her.
Mrs. Chukwuneke said, “I thank God for saving my life. I am shocked that the traders could attack me. They shattered my vehicle with stones, broken bottles and other dangerous weapons, even about 5 Local Government staff that accompanied me to the market on decongestion are right now, still in the hospital.
“I have begged them severally to stop trading on the road but if you go there now, you will see vehicles, tri-cycles, motorcycle, heavy duty lorries parked along the road, thereby obstructing free human and vehicular movement. Others in the market cooperated but at Sokoto road, their Vice chairman, Prince Peter Okoye and his men blocked the street with chain and turned me back. They started throwing stone and sachet water on me when I quickly rushed into my car.”
She also debunked allegations that she imposed levy on the traders saying that she has not in any way asked the traders to pay any levy since she came to power.
The chairman of the market, Valentine Ezechukwu had accused the council boss of storming the market with over 100 youths to collect revenue from the traders and at the same time clamp down on street trading in the area, an action which led to the attack.
The traders alleged that the council had imposed a N50,000 levy on every shop. This they said infuriated the traders leading to the attack