The Umuahia Timber market along Ahiaeke road in Abia State, is in chaos, after a trader was allegedly shot dead by a member of the state vigilante.
Trouble started after traders refused to pay an annual levy of N18,000 imposed by the Abia State Internal Revenue Board.
A source said the state revenue board ordered the traders who refused to pay the levy to close down their shops.
However, the traders put up resistance when vigilantes came to the market to effect the order given by the revenue board.
The source said that the vigilantes killed one of the traders identified as ‘Indomie’, while 5 others were injured.
The action of the vigilante was said to have provoked the traders who retaliated by burning the office and vehicles belonging to the local guards.
The Abia State Government has reacted to the crisis, condemning the destruction of Abia Vigilante Services Office and the Timber Market.
In a press statement, Secretary to the State Government, Chris Ezem, asked the police to commence investigation.
The government directed the officers and men of Abia Vigilante Service to withdraw from the market forthwith, while the leadership of the market has been enjoined to assist the police identify the arsonists.
The statement read, “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.”