Hoodlums, numbering about 25, have attacked members of the Abia State House of Assembly ad-hoc committee investigating alleged indiscriminate erection of shops at Ekeoha market, Aba.
Some members of the Ekeoha Market Traders Association has petitioned the State House of Assembly through their counsel, Victor Nwugo, against the Chairman of the Association, Mr. Friday Dimiri, and the Commissioner for Trade and Investment, Dr. Cosmas Ndukwe, over alleged arbitrary erection of shop on spaces provided for fire service, banks , convenience and other open areas at the market.
The lawmakers, comprising the Chairman of the committee, Hon. Munachim Alozie, (PDP/Ugwunagbo); Sir Abraham Oba, (APGA/Aba Central); Hon. Paul Taribo, (PDP/Ukwa East) and Hon. Obinna Ichita(APGA/Aba South), had visited the market with their aides and security men for on the spot verification of the petition against Ndukwe and Dimiri.
Pointblanknews.com gathered that as the lawmakers made to inspect some areas, one of the aides to the Chairman of Ekeoha Market Traders Association, Mr. Friday Dimiri, snatched the handset of one of the aides of a Committee member under the pretense that the said aide to the lawmakers took a pictures of the chairman of the market. Ndukwe, a former Deputy Speaker of the Assembly and former Chief of Staff to the Abia government under former governor, Senator Theodore Orji, was said to have absented himself from the verification visit without informing the adhoc committee.
Some traders were said to have identified most of the hoodlums who perpetrated the act as loyalists of Ndukwe and Dimiri who were engaged by their principals to harass the lawmakers to abort the verification of shops.
Piqued with the action, the lawmakers demanded that the seized handset be returned, but the aide took off and disappeared into the market.
According to the source, “It took the Chairman of the adhoc Committee, Hon. Munachim Alozie, who directed Mr. Friday Dimiri to order the hoodlum to return the said handset before the handset resurfaced and was handed over to Hon. Alozie,” the source said.
After the incident, another argument ensued as Dimiri insisted that the House members would only inspect the areas approved by him and not as alleged in the petition.
However, this was not accepted by the lawmakers who refused to be guided by the market chairman. Few minutes later, some hoodlums started hauling stones and sachet water at the House members and their aides. It was clear that Dimiri did not want the lawmakers to perform their assignment.
The hoodlums also attempted to snatch a gun from one of the security men in the convoy of the House members but for his gallantry.
The situation forced the lawmakers to stop the verification visit in the market as the hoodlums continued hauling sachet water on them and their aides.
“The thugs threw packs of sachet water on the House members to frustrate them from carrying out on the spot verification of the contents of the petition against indiscriminate building of shops at the market. It was a planned deal by Friday Dimiri and Dr. Cosmas Ndukwe, to engage the thugs to harass the lawmakers,” one of the traders in the market, told pointblanknews.com.
The lawmakers reported the incident to the House during their plenary and urged Governor Okezie Ikpeazu to suspend the chairman of the Ekeoha market, Mr. Friday Dimiri and the Commissioner for Trade and Investment, Dr. Cosmas Ndukwe,
They further tasked the security agencies to carry out a thorough investigation of the attack on the lawmakers.