Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, HURIWA, has asked the minister of Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Malam Muhammad Bello to re-open Dei-Dei market and find a way to rebuild the infrastructures destroyed by commercial motorcyclists in a fracas on Wednesday or ban the operation of Okada in the area for justice, equity and fairness.
HURIWA said it is offensive to the principle of natural justice that two parties were involved in a fracas but the authority rather than make peace and create harmony and reconciliation decided to back one of the combatants because of religious motive.
The rights group said the role of a minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is that of service without bitterness or sectionalism since ministers are appointed for all of Nigeria.
“We do not want to believe that it is true that the FCT Minister who is a Nigerian will adopt controversial and unnatural steps that offend the commercial interests of his fellow citizens and let off the motorcyclists who are largely illegal aliens from Niger Republic, Chad and just a sprinkling of Muslim Northern Nigerians only because traders at Dei Dei market who fought Okada riders are mostly Igbos from Southern Nigeria and are Christians by faith Orientation, “HURIWA said in a statement signed by its National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and made available to DAILY POST on Thursday.
“We call on President Muhammadu Buhari who constitutionally is the governor of FCT to ask his subordinate the FCT Minister to adopt a solution that won’t be seen as favouring a party in a fight by two parties only because the favoured party are almost 100 percent Moslems sharing same faith system with the minister.
“Leadership is not to bow to religious or ethnic sentiments. leadership must be altruistic, nationalistic, just, fair and equitable and the Minister who has worked harmoniously with peoples of all faith systems and ethnicity for years, should not now be remotely connected to this sort of story of open but shameful partiality and crude bias.”
The FCT Minister had on Wednesday ordered the immediate closure of the Dei-Dei International Building Material Market following yesterday’s violence which claimed four lives.
Trouble started at the market when an unidentified female trader reportedly fell off a commercial motorcycle and was crushed to death by an articulated vehicle.
Other traders from the market then burnt the motorcycle blaming the biker for reckless riding. Their action, however, prompted a reprisal from okada riders in the area who regrouped in large number and went into the timber section of the market and set it ablaze.
The FCT Minister while inspecting the scene of the incident with FCT Commissioner of Police Sunday Babaji, the Director of State Security Services, alongside other sister security agencies and top officials of the FCT Administration, directed for the indefinite closure of the market.
Bello then directed the community and the market leaders to fish out the hoodlums responsible for the crisis.