The Youth Wing of the pan-Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, has said the demolition of Owonifari Market in Oshodi area of Lagos by the Lagos State government was in bad faith and targeted at Igbo traders doing business in the state.
The youths maintained that Governor Akinwunmi Ambode deliberately ordered the demolition of the Oshodi market, largely occupied by Ndigbo in the first week of the New Year when he knew that Igbo shop owners were yet to return from the Christmas and New Year festivities.
In a statement by the National President of Ohanaeze Youth Council, OYC, Mazi Okechukwu Isiguzoro, the group said the governor by his actions, had drawn a battle line between himself and Ndigbo, whose people suffered huge losses in the demolition exercise.
“It is instructive to observe here that contrary to all principles of common justice, the traders were merely given few days quit notice. It is equally shocking that the government chose such a wrong time for the demolition exercise, thereby not only taking the shops away from them, but also allowing their wares to be looted.
“We are forced to ask: Could this be the starting point in implementing Oba of Lagos’ earlier threat during the election period that Ndigbo would be thrown into the Lagoon? Could it be another round of deportation exercise, similar to what former Governor Babatunde Fashola did in repatriating Ndigbo?
“It is inhumane for people’s livelihood to be taken away from them in such a brazen manner. The government’s claim that arms were recovered from a section of the market does not fly here because it cannot be a reason for such a wicked treatment purely targeted at a particular people”.
The OYC insisted that the Lagos State government’s action was a threat to the unity of the country and demanded adequate compensation for the traders who had suffered great losses in the demolition.
“We demand that the governor of Lagos State should direct relevant government agencies to adequately compensate these traders as anything short of that, Ndigbo will henceforth, consider Ambode as their arch-enemy number one”, Isiguzoro said.