One person was killed and another injured while several shops and homes were burnt down during an alleged operation by government officials on some Hausa communities in Owerri West Local Government Area of Imo State.
Multiple sources told Daily Trust that the officials, believed to be agents of the Owerri Capital Development Authority (OCDA) and Environmental Transformation Agency (ENTRCO), alongside policemen set ablaze shops and properties in Avu Junction and Hausa market, Nekede No 1 market and Arugu market as part of the government’s efforts to remove alleged shanties and illegal structures.
“Several houses and shops belonging to northerners were burnt down, most of us are currently taking refuge in the bush and our Juma’at Mosque was equally demolished by the taskforce and the police,” said Nura Kabir Umar, a youth leader at Nekede No 1 market.
Umar, said tension started brewing on Thursday and climaxed on Sunday when policemen on the invitation of ENTRACO officials shot and killed a 35-year-old trader identified as Mudashir Muhammad and injured another.
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Daily Trust reports that the Imo State Government, through the OCDA had last year declared a take-off of an enforcement order to reclaim the city capital from street trading, shanties and illegal parking.
The OCDA General Manager, Francis Chukwu, had then met with the leadership of Hausa communities in the state and urged them to cooperate with the government in achieving the plan.
Our correspondent, however, could not verify if the operations at the three markets were part of the plan as the Imo State Commissioner for Information, Declan Emelumba, did not respond to calls and SMS sent to his phone.