Many people were reportedly injured on Wednesday when suspected masked security operatives stormed two motor parks close to the New Auto Spare Parts Market in Nkpor along the Enugu-Onitsha expressway in Idemili North Local Government Area of Anambra State and rained heavy shootings indiscriminately.
It was gathered that the shootings, which started at about 1pm caused a stampede at the markets, as traders hurriedly locked their shops and scampered for safety, as many people sustained varying degrees of injuries in the process.
According to PUNCH, trouble started in the area when some armed men dressed in security operatives attire and on masks stormed the area and attempted to forcefully eject the people living near the Amafor Community, who claimed to be the bonafide owners of the land where the motor parks were sited and have been collecting revenues from the parks for both the community and the state government.
The shootings led to a protest by the villagers who carried placards with various inscriptions.
The Chairman of Amafor Village, Nkpor, Mr. Emmanuel Idemili, said that the federal ministry of works gave the community an authority to manage the two motor parks and collect revenues for the community and the state government and they have been doing that.
The village Chairman reportedly claimed the masked security operatives stormed the parks on the directive of the former Chairman of Idemili North Local Government Transition Committee, Mr. Raphael Nnabuife, who Idemili said is also an indigene of Nkpor but not from Amafor village.
“We have been in charge of the parks, we got our permissions from the state government to generate revenue from the parks for the state government but what we saw today is very strange to us.
“Just this morning, I was at Awka on official assignment, when our men who are working at the parks called me and told me that masked security operatives stormed the parks under the flyover bridge and started shooting indiscriminately, ordering them to vacate the place immediately, and they took to their heels.
“The shootings and attack from the security men may have come from the former transition chairman of Idemili North Local Government Area Caretaker Committee Chairman, Chief Raphael Nnabuife because when he was the transition Committee chairman, he sacked us from the parks, telling us that the parks were owned and controlled by the State government and not the Amafor community.
“The men have been working under the cover of Anambra Investment Promotion and Protection Agency, to ensure that we are not working and collecting the revenue on behalf of the state government, because he claimed to have taken ownership of collection of revenue from the parks on behalf of the state government through his company Pugaty Investment.
“I was told that many people got injured during the stampede as a result of the heavy shootings of which I am yet to know if my men were involved as the shootings resulted in traders at Nkpor New Auto Spare Parks and Nkpor Relief Markets to immediately shut their shops and fled for their safety,” Idemili was quoted as saying.
However, Nnabuufe who was accused of instigating the forceful ejection reportedly denied involvement in the attack at the parks, saying that the sack may have come from the State government in collaboration with Anambra Investment Promotion and Protection Agency (ANSIPPA) as the parks are owned and controlled by the state government.
On his part, the Executive Director of ANSIPPA, Chief Mark Okoye, reportedly confirmed that it was the State government that sacked the community members and not ANSIPPA.
Meanwhile, Anambra State Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Tochukwu Ikenga, said that he was not yet aware of the incident of the shootings as of the time of filing this report.