Six injured as thugs disrupt Anambra market election

Emma Elekwa, Onitsha

 

No fewer than six persons, including the electoral committee chairman, Chief Ifeanyi Mbaekwe, were on Thursday injured following the disruption of the election of the Nkpor Auto parts market, Anambra state.

No fewer than 300 suspected thugs believed to be in the payroll of Anambra State Markets Amalgamated Traders Association, ASMATA, had invaded the market while accreditation was ongoing.

The thugs, dressed in yellow apron and led by the ASMATA President, Chief Ikechukwu Ekwegbaru, had on arrival, attempted to forcefully open the iron gate of the market if not for the intervention of security operatives.

Some of them reportedly forced their way into the election venue through other flexible gates, manhandling the electoral committee chairman and ordering him to produce the keys to the main gate.

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Addressing newsmen, the electoral chairman, Mbaekwe alleged imposition of leadership on them, urging the state government to allow them conduct a democratic election.

He said over 300 of the suspected thugs stood outside, while those who made their way to the election venue attempted strangulating him but for divine intervention.

He said: “The ASMATA boys, believed to be thugs, beat me up with one of them holding me as he was giving the order.

“They insisted I must produce the key to the main gate, but I told them I was not with the key.”

“I urge the state government to allow us to do a democratic election, they should not impose a candidate on us.”

A physically challenged trader who spoke in confidence, said he was held by one of the thugs who warned him not to misbehave or had himself to blame.

“You know you have only one hand, if I don’t behave well you should be in the grave now,” he told me.

The Nation gathered that the crises led to the indefinite postponement of the election by the ASMATA President.