By Ugochukwu Alaribe
There was confusion at the Tonimas junction market in Osisioma Ngwa council area, Abia State, yesterday, as the state task force on covid-19 was attacked by hoodlums in the area who smashed their vehicles.
Sources told Vanguard that the taskforce had stormed the market located along the Enugu –Port Harcourt expressway, following the refusal of the traders to obey government directive on the lockdown.
Transition Committee Chairman, Osisioma Ngwa council, Dr. Ikechukwu Nwabeke, said the team had visited the market in company of the chairman, state task force on COVID -19, Dr. Solomon Ogunji, to sensitize the traders on the need to comply with government directive on the lockdown, but were confronted by hoodlums who started smashing the windscreen of vehicles in the convoy of the taskforce.
In his words, “The Chairman, state task force on COVID-19, Dr. Solomon Ogunji and his team visited Tonimas market to sensitize the traders on the comply with the government order to shut markets. When we got to the area, the chairman started his address; some hoodlums singing, give us money, give us money. Others started smashing the windscreens and headlights of the vehicles we came with. We were not even on enforcement but on sensitization. We had visited Afo Ule,Ahia Nkwo , Ekeakpara and other markets.”
He dismissed reports that the task force destroyed the traders’ wares as false, and urged the traders to comply with the order to shut markets in their interest.
“How could the taskforce destroy the goods of the traders when it was not even on enforcement? We had visited other markets without incidents. What happened was that some hoodlums joined the traders to attack the task force. They couldn’t let the task force address the. We left the area until the security arrived. So, there is no truth in any trader telling you that the task force destroyed their wares,” Nwabeke said.
Chairman of the State taskforce on COVID-19, Dr Solomon Ogunji, disclosed that some of the hoodlums who were arrested by the Police have been arraigned and warned that those who defy the government order would face the wrath of the law.