Ohaneze Chieftain Decries Attack On Igbo Traders
A Chieftain of Ohaneze Ndigbo, Prince Julian Nweke has condemned Monday’s attack on Igbo traders at Oshodi market in Lagos by ‘area boys’.
It was gathered that a group of Yoruba boys alleged to be hoodlums invaded the Oshodi market, and beat up the traders for voting for the candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party in the Saturday 23rd Presidential and National Assembly elections.
In a telephone chat with The Vortex, Nweke who is the chairman, Ojudu branch of Ohaneze, described the attack as sinister, warning that Igbo in Lagos will not take it lightly if it occurs again.
Stressing that the attack was politically motivated, Nweke appealed to Yoruba leaders to call their people to order, adding that describing those who perpetrated the attack as hoodlums would not help the matter.
“Nigeria is a democratic country where rule of law prevails. People should be allowed to exercise their franchise and vote for candidates of their choice in elections. They should not be maltreated for that”, the Ohaneze leader warned.
Our correspondent gathered that the hoodlums swooped on the market around 5am on Monday and destroyed some shops before the traders arrived to set up their wares.
The hoodlums returned around 7am to beat up some of the traders, who were assessing the damage done to their shops.
One of the traders who Identified himself as Emeka and whose shop was destroyed said the hoodlums had no justification to attack the traders and their means of livelihood for exercising their civic right; adding that they were paying tax to the Lagos State Government.
He stated that he arrived for the day’s business only to see his shade already destroyed, adding that when he asked those who arrived before him what happened, he was told some boys armed to the teeth came and destroyed their places of business.
He also said he learnt that they beat up some traders when they came the second time.
“This action on the Igbo is condemnable, because we are the ones developing this state. Some of the shops built by government are sold to us because we are willing to pay any amount to get shops where business thrives. We are calling on the state government to put security measures in place so that such a thing will not repeat itself. As Nigerians, it is expected that everyone will be free to do business anywhere in the country without being intimidated or harassed by anybody, regardless of who they decide to vote for” he said.
Another trader identified as Obinna told newsmen that he was able to escape the area boys’ beating by luck, as he saw them approaching with planks in their lands, and took to his heels.
Although, operatives of the ‘Operation Python Dance’ few hours after the incident opened the shops, the Ohaneze Chieftain was not happy that Igbo traders who were doing their legitimate business were being harassed. He called on the security operatives to beef up security in the area.
Meanwhile, the member representing Oshodi Isolo Constituency1 at the House of Representatives Mutiu Shadimu has condemned the action of the hoodlums and called on the authorities to bring the perpetrators to justice.
The Lagos State Police Command had however denied the incident. The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) in the state, CSP Chike Oti, said the Police received distress calls about the rumored attacks, stressing that the command immediately dispatched policemen to various parts of Oshodi and environs to monitor events.