…”We’re being treated, harass like animals – Ismail
By Achadu Gabriel, Enugu
Palpable tension and suspicion has continue to build up at the Artisan market in Enugu following instruction by Governor Ifeany Agwuanyi of Enugu state to ejects occupants of the market from the permanent site.
Four million naira has already been released to evacuate occupants of the popular Artisan market located at Enugu- Port harcout road which is predominantly occupied by Hausa community and others.
Govenor Agwuanyi reportedly convened a meeting with the Hausa community leaders last Wednesday and directed that occupants of the Artisan be relocated to a temporary site, sighting court Judgement delivered in favoured of a Citi Gas company as owner of the land against one Alh Sani Mohammed and others doing cow business on the land.
Our Correspondent who was there reported that a day after their meeting with governor Agwuanyi, the market was invaded by thugs in company of bulldozers and security personnel for demolition.
According to eyewitness account by markets officials, the demolition attempts was met with stiff resistance as some youth sustained various degrees of bullet injuries, while a woman broke hand when running aimlessly for their lives as result of sporadic gun shot by the police security.
The market fence and main gate into the premises of permanent site was pulled down and some shops destroyed by the alleged Citi Gas induced demolition attempt that was later attacked by the youths and chased away the 200 thugs, and their bulldozers also destroyed.and abandon.
Some passersby privates car owners who were also attacked by the angry youths and their vehicles destroyed and damaged beyond repair were also abandoned on the road.
Over fifthen police personnel vans deployed to the scene to restore normalcy were still on ground till Friday afternoon when another crises again erupted when truck was set ablaze by the some irate youth, burning tyers wiith smoking all over the air, as business owners scampered for survival.
Speaking to our correspondent, the former Chairman, Artisan market, Adamu Mayiwa who conducted our reporter round the permanent and temporary sites of the Market said “All of a sudden they had gun shoot repeated and people started running. A woman broke hand while running for fear, a boy with bullet wound appeared.
“The next thing we saw bulldozers pulling down the fence and gate. We started talking about ourselves why the demolition when the governor gave us two weeks when discuss this land issue in government house with him yesterday”, he said.
According to Adamu, the demolition action disregarded their Ramadam period and was without enough noticed for everybody prepare and leave.
He also said that even though they cannot dragged with governor, they’ve members with wives and children who cannot sleep outside under rain since there is no building structure in temporary site they’re asked to go.
The secretary new Artisan market Mr Ismail illiyasu Abubakar also told our reporter that he was surprised over the words used by the governor during their meeting with him, saying that the former Governor, Chinatown Nnamani cheated on some family (Citi Gas), by illegally collected their land and given the people.
He also said attempt to explained and show the governor the gazetted land and Citi Gas Company portion was rejected as the governor said, “I don’t care, that the gazetted and allocation given to us is invalid.
“The governor’s action is deliberately to pursue us. They’re maltreating us. If you go to places like Kano, Kaduna and other states in the north you will discover that igbos have alot of billions of investment there but nobody harsh them like the one they do to us here yesterday. The harass us like animals. Our people slepp outside yesterday like nothing with rain beating them even though we’re doing fasting and they came with tear gass and started shotting.
All efforts to hear from Chief press secretary to Enugu governor was futile as they complaint of been busy.
Also a leader, Alh Lawal Mohammed Ayavgah also confirmed that, Enugu Governor, during the meeting, urged them to respect court order and vacated the land, lamented that efforts to explained to him that Citi Gas company land is different from Artisans market, gazetted and allocated to them during Governor chimaroke Nnamani administration, was discarded by Agwuanyi.
He said Citi Gas Company only dragged one Alh Sani Mohammed and coy to court for failure to fulfil agreement to pay the company N600,00 on each head of cow sold for leasing part of the company land, next to Artisan government, to him.
“We did not know when government and Citi Gas went to court over land matters, neither the company ever complained of government taken over it land since 2005- 2006 when the land was gazetted by government and allocated to people till now”,, he said.
On the N4 millions releasd to the Hausa community leaders, Alh Lawal explained that even though the leaders and members don’t like to vacated the land but collected the money out of fear or what he cout not understand?. End.