Several market women at Ogbaru Market in Anambra State were on Wednesday allegedly attacked by a government agency, Ocha Brigade otherwise known as Governor Obiano’s Police.
Some of the injured women were rushed to an unnamed hospital in Ogbaru.
Trouble began when the brigade, led by one Kenneth Okonkwo, stormed the market and allegedly shot into the air and thus forced the traders, mostly women to flee into safety.
The invaders destroyed goods worth huge sums of naira mostly plantains, water melon, tomatoes, vegetable and allied goods.
Our correspondents gathered that seven women were injured in the fracas.
The spokesperson for the traders, Charles Orji, said, “We could not believe our eyes when these Ocha Brigade people and their thugs numbering over 300 invaded the market this afternoon.
“I got a phone call that some hoodlums had invaded the relief market and on getting there, I saw Okonkwo, the commander of Ocha Brigade with his men beating traders, destroying their goods and shooting sporadically.
“ It was like a war. I have not seen something like this before. They were beating these women like beasts,” Orji said.
One of the injured women, Mrs. Chinyere Okafor, a 35-year-old mother of five, told journalists that she lost N45,000 cash and her goods.
An eyewitness, Zeribe Ezeanuna, corroborated that the attack was like a war.
He said it appeared the government of the day had no interest of the common people at heart.
He added, “They did not inform anybody about their coming. They only invaded the market and shot sporadically and injured people who had come to trade.”
Ocha Brigade has been having issues with traders in the state over revenue collection.
The traders see government’s levies and taxes as arbitrary.
Reacting, the state Commissioner for Trade and Commerce, Mrs. Uzoamaka Ilobi, assured the traders that the Chief Willie Obiano administration, being a responsive government, would look into the attack.
She said the Ocha Brigade’s operatives were working according to the directive of the government to decongest roads which was exactly what they were carrying out when the fracas ensued.
It was gathered that the brigade men’s action followed the directive by the government to relocate the traders because, according to the government, the traders were causing obstruction along major roads.