Trader slumps as police tear-gas Owerri market


There was pandemonium yesterday as both passers-by and traders ran helter-skelter, as police men fired several canisters of tear gas into the air at the Owerri Main Market popularly called Eke Onuwa located on the popular Douglas Road, during which an asthmatic patient, Chukwukere Daniel and a six-year-old boy almost lost their lives.
According to eye witnesses at the scene, the policemen were said to be attached to the task force on street trading and illegal motor park.
They were said to have shot tear gas canisters into the air in the midst of a crowd that gathered to watch a promotional display by a beverage company, but  Daniel and the six-year-old boy were caught in the incident.
The ensuing pandemonium was said to have caused a stampede which injured scores of people at the market, and also afforded some hoodlums an  opportunity to loot property of the traders, who fled the scene.
Daniel, while narrating his experience after regaining consciousness  said: “ I was returning from work and heard a loud sound at
Douglas Road , I started running but slumped later as I was told by people who revived me.”
He further disclosed that it took good Samaritans who came to his rescue to get an inhaler after losing his during the  stampede.
The six-year-old, who was being dragged by his mother fainted due to the effect of the tear gas and was also said to have been revived few hours later.
When contacted, the Imo State Police  Public Relations Officer, Andrew Enwerem said the presence of the police at the scene was to avert security breach as well as ensure free flow of traffic .


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