Conflict amongst palm oil unions in Umuahia leaves two injured

by Amos Kalu

After a fight between two rival market unions at Umuopara Palm Oil Beach Market in Umuahia South Local Government Area (LGA) of Abia State, two people were badly hurt and sent to the Federal Medical Center, FMC Umuahia.

Since August 2023, the two competing organizations, the United Palm Oil Dealers Association and the Palm Oil Association of Nigeria, have been engaged in a power struggle about who should be in charge of collecting market revenues and who should be the market’s leader.

However, on Thursday, a violent altercation between the two competing associations sent three members of the United Palm Dealers Association to the hospital, two of whom were critically ill.

Monday Ogunka is the next injured merchant, while the names of those in critical condition are Kingsley Onyemuche and Peter Anyanwu.

Due to the severity of their circumstances, Kingsley Onyemuche and Peter Anyanwu were brought to the FMC, Umuahia’s Casualty and Emergency Ward, while Ogunka was sent to a different department on Monday since his own injuries were deemed to be minor.

Due to a shortage of beds, those in serious circumstances were kept on the hospital floor and given medication injections to help them stay stable.

According to information obtained by DAILY POST, conflict arose in the market on Thursday afternoon about who was entitled to payment from a truck carrying palm oil that was headed for Jos, Plateau State.

One group asserted that it had the right to collect the revenue, while another stated it ought to do so and send out its men to shut the market’s gate to keep the loaded truck from leaving.

However, an eyewitness who begged to remain anonymous claimed that several thugs who had been allegedly incited by the market’s interim chairman, Chima Ukaegbu, had shown up at the scene and attacked the United Palm Oil Dealers Association members, viciously beating and kicking them.

The eyewitness continued, saying that the invading thugs beat three members of their rivals into a coma, causing two of them to lose consciousness immediately before being taken to the FMC. The eyewitness further stated that the interim chairman is related to a high-ranking official of the Abia State Government.

He continued by saying that the altercation spread fear throughout the market, causing several vendors to lock up and leave, and customers who had come to make purchases to scatter as well.

When the two parties charged one another with endangering the stability of the market, a similar altercation was averted in September of this year.

It was unable to get an answer from Chima Ukaegbu, the acting chairman, regarding the unsightly development.

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