We condemn the forceful demolition of the popular Eke Ukwu Market and violent eviction of traders in Owerri by the Imo State Government using men of the Nigerian Police Force and other security agencies during which three (3) people including a 10 year old child were extra-judicially murdered and several other people were injured.
This violent eviction is all the more condemnable because it was carried out in violation of a pending order granted by an Imo State High Court restraining the Imo State Government from demolishing the market and evicting the traders.
This action, sadly, follows a pattern of the use of the apparatus of state security to forcefully and violently carry out evictions of ordinary Nigerians from valuable property in blatant violation of Court orders. Not very long ago, the Lagos State government ordered the forceful eviction of indigent Nigerians from waterfront properties to enable it enter into joint venture agreements for the construction of luxury apartments. Like the Owerri incident, this eviction led to the deaths of at least two (2) people and the injury of several others, including women and children.
As much as we acknowledge the ideals of development and the construction of critical infrastructure, these ideals must be pursued within the confines of the respect for the rule of law, as well as in a humane manner that preserves the dignity of indigent Nigerians while giving them viable and affordable alternatives regarding where to live, grow and trade.
Unfortunately, the All Progressives’ Congress (APC) does not recognise such valuable ideals and as such continues to design, promote and pursue anti-people policies.
We call for the immediate investigation of these extra-judicial murders and for the culprits to be brought to book. Only such an action will give justice to the dead and discourage the use of the Police and other security agencies as tools for the further oppression of ordinary Nigerians.
May God rest the dead.
Prince Dayo Adeyeye
National Publicity Secretary