‘’Our Decision to demolish Ekeukwu market was burn out of the fact that many victims had lost their lives to hoodlums as results, those so called hoodlums now find shelter and succor in that market, making it a serious security threat, I am very happy the operation went well and there was no causalities’’
This was the submission of His Excellency, Governor Rochas Okorocha when grating interview with journalists after the demolition had taken place in the presence of heavy security personnels that include the police and the military representatives.
But in statement made available to urban express news online yesterday, United Labour Congress of Nigeria, ULC, described the demolition of the market as barbaric, unconscionable and out of tune with the dictates of modern societies that thrive on strict adherence to the rule of law and natural justice where essentially, leading to the death of 10 years old boy who, accordingly was assisting his parent in carrying out market activities on behalf of his parent before he meet his untimely death as result of what government termed demolition.
In a statement by its President, Joe Ajaero, the group lamented that the demolition allegedly supported by the Army, the Police and other armed groups both legal and illegal, led to loss of lives, hospitalization of many others, and destruction of property running into billions of Naira.
‘’ We call for an investigation to determine whether the deployment of the military to aid the governor in the lawless act received the approval of the President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces.” We request thorough investigation into the death of the killing of the 10 -year-old boy, who meet his untimely death as result of what the government describe as demolition that involves life’’, with a view to ascertaining the exact cause and bring the perpetrators to book.’’
Meanwhile as the condemnation continues to trail the brutal murder of 10 years old Somtochukwu ibeanusi, the 34 Artillery Brigade has come up to dispel rumour that it came without the conscious understanding of it constitutional role.
The Brigade’s Public Relations Officer, PRO, Captain Haruna Timothy Tagwai, disclosed this, yesterday, when our correspondent sought to know how the Army got involved in the Ekeukwu Owerri market crisis.
‘’The Army did not come there on its own. We are part of the security of the state,” Tagwai said. While saying that the soldiers and Air Force personnel were “deployed at the outer cordon of the entry and exits of the market to prevent miscreants from looting,” the PRO also disclosed that they were not close to the demolition site.
“On all these, the heads of services were on hand to supervise the work. The army respects the sanctity of life and protects same as a duty,” Captain Tagwai said. Asked to explain why soldiers now force people walking along Douglas Road to raise their hands and sometimes, forced to frog-jump, the PRO said some miscreants had weapons on them therefore; there is the need for people passing to raise their hands for the safety of all. About those being flogged and frog-jumped, if there are pictures, it will help us discipline those involved because, no one is supposed to be molested,” Tagwai said. Economic activities in Ekeukwu Owerri and around the adjoining streets have grounded to a halt .urban express news correspondent , who took a tour of the troubled area, noticed that all the commercial banks shut their doors against customers. “The economy is in serious trouble.
The commercial banks were closed for business. I really can’t understand what is happening. I do not know if government really knows the number of people that have been thrown out of business,” emeka lamented. At press time, vehicles were barred from entering Douglas Road through the Ama J.K and Emmanuel College ends, while the families of the slain Somtochukwu Ibeanusi have cried out that the police have seized the tally issued to them by the morgue attendants of the Federal Medical Centre, Owerri.