The traders were prevented from going into the Government House.
Traders in Ekeonuwa Market in Owerri on Monday marched round major streets of the state capital, protesting against continuous extortion by some unidentified government officials.
The leader of the traders, Augustine Nzeribe, told the News Agency of Nigeria during the protest that traders in the market could no longer trade with ease following intimidation from some group who claimed to be from a government task force.
He said the traders had carried such extortion protest to the ministry of commerce and industry last year where they were informed that such group never existed on the government list.
Mr. Nzeribe said since then, the group had not seized coming to extort money from them on a daily bases. He said some of the traders who refused to pay the money were assaulted while some were banned from trading in the market.
The market leader said the traders had formed strong alliance to battle with the fake task force, adding that the protest was the first step which they decided to take before further actions. He said if the government did not react fast in stopping the group from impersonating its name, they would fight back to protect their rights.
Officials of the state police command denied the protesters access to the Government House where they solicited to meet the state governor.