Traders in Imo State have concluded plans to shut the markets and embark on a mass protest over the killing of their innocent colleague by a police operative attached to the dreaded Tiger Base Unit of the state police command if the culprits are not brought to book.

It was gathered that a team of policemen from the Tiger Base Unit who stormed the Timber and Allied Products market at Naze, in Owerri North Local Government Area to enforce the arrest of another trader, shot and killed the victim who tried to find out the offence the person they came to arrest committed.

The President of ISAMATA, Emmanuel Ezeanochie who spoke to our reporter said the market association has severally been pushed to the wall by the activities of policemen who, according to him, regularly visit the market to harass, molest and intimidate traders and arrest those who did not commit any offence.

Ezeanochie, who is also known as Chenko said the deceased trader was a member of the association and was popularly known in the market as Wazzi.

He said he would have mobilized his people for a protest against the police but decided not to toe the path of matching violence with violence especially now that the state is experiencing security problems.

The enraged President said the police cannot deny being responsible for the killing when, according to him, all the traders in the market know them (police) even by their names.

Hear him, “I don’t know what to tell them if they deny being responsible for the killing. Who doesn’t know them by their faces in the market? There is no week that passes without the police visiting the market to harass and intimidate the traders. Denying responsibility of the killing will only make the situation worse because the incident took place in the open and it was obvious that one of the officers shot him dead”.

“We are calling on the Imo state government and the state Commissioner of Police to immediately place sanction on the erring police officer lest, members of ISAMATA will take it upon themselves.

“The government should also consider the young family of the slain trader who are currently in agony and find a way to restore hope to them. Anything short of this will enrage the traders in the state.”

But the state police command in a earlier reaction, through its Spokesman, Henry Okoye, denied its operatives being responsible for the killing.

Henry said, “Information we have gathered so far indicates that it wasn’t the Police that shot the trader.

However, the DPO in charge of the area has since been mobilized to the scene for on-the-spot analysis and discreet investigation.”