The Enugu State Government has shut down the New Artisan Market, otherwise known as Goat Market, Enugu.
A majority of traders in the market are livestock dealers from the North.
The northern traders believe the closure of the market was a deliberate measure to push them out of business, which is an ordeal northern traders pass through across Igbo land.
The spokesman for the northern traders, Hamza Buba, said they would use ‘ every lawful means ’ to compel the state government to pay them damages for their eviction from the market.
Meanwhile, the Northern traders have filed a suit before a Federal High Court in Enugu, demanding N50 billion Naira compensation from the state government for their ejection and abrupt closure of the market which has cost them huge losses.
The northern traders were joined in the suit by a human rights group, the Civil Rights Realisation and Advancement Network.
However, in a judgment, the presiding judge, Justice Rosemary Oghoghorie, declined jurisdiction in the matter and referred the litigants to a state high Court, as the suit borders on land.
But reacting to the development, the northern traders insisted on the payment of the N50bn damages by the state government, vowing to appeal the judgment.
He noted that the court was wrong to state that the suit bordered on land matters.
The Enugu State Government had on December 19, 2016 ordered the northern traders to vacate their shops and living quarters in the market after a policeman, Corporal Gabriel Ugwu, was killed by a mob of tricycle riders.
Spokesman for the northern traders had noted that it was unjust to assume that the any of their members was involved in the killing of the past, and urged the police to deepen investigation in the matter.
In the wake of the incident, the Enugu State House of Assembly passed a resolution for the ejection of the northern traders and immediate closure of the market, and ordered its relocation out of Enugu metropolis – a measure believed to be extreme.