- Some traders in Abia state are displeased over the imposition of an annual levy of N18,000 by the Abia State Internal Revenue Board
- The disagreement between the revenue collection agency and the traders has escalated into a violent civil unrest
- The Abia state government has condemned the violence, promising residents that it will get to the root of the matter
Umuahia, Abia state - A riot has erupted at the Umuahia Timber market in Abia state following disagreements over the payment of an annual levy of N18,000 imposed by the Abia State Internal Revenue Board.
The Daily Trust reported that trouble started when some traders at the market located along Ahiaeke road, refused to pay the levy and also resisted the move by the agency to evict them.
The newspaper stated that the Abia revenue board then invited vigilantes to the market to effect the eviction order.
The violent riot by traders
A resident told Daily Trust that things escalated when vigilantes enforcing the order shot one of the traders who later died, while five others were wounded.
Angered by the action of the vigilantes, some traders reportedly retaliated by setting ablaze the section of the market where the office of the local guards is located.
In response, the Abia state government has asked the police to commence an investigation into the incident.
Abia state government cautions vigilante service
The government directed the officers and men of Abia vigilante service to withdraw from the market.
The secretary to the state government, Chris Ezem, said those behind the crisis will be punished.
“The impunity of burning buildings and other public institutions must stop forthwith, as arson remains a very serious crime against the state and humanity, which attracts severe consequences under our laws.
“Government will promptly discipline any Abia Vigilante Service personnel who harasses or intimidates citizens.”
Meanwhile, the governor of Abia state, Okezie Ikpeazu, has disclosed that he might return to lecturing after his term ends in 2023.
Ikpeazu made the disclosure an interactive session with journalists at the governor’s lodge in Aba, The Nation reported.
The politician stated that he could also delve into the business of shoemaking.