Traders at the ancestral Eke Ukwu Owere market,Owerri have deserted the market after it was bulldozed saturday morning
The bloody clash was said to have led to the death of one person which has been confirmed. Unconfirmed reports put the death toll at five and many others wounded.
The clash Saturday morning was a culmination of a fierce resistance put up by Owerri youths who had kept vigil at the market for many days in a bid to wade off plans by the State government to remove the market.
State government owned radio station, Imo Broadcasting Corporation, had last week repeatedly aired the quit notice from the government to the traders to vacate the market in 48 hours.
However, the shopping plaza located at Douglas road was eventually brought down by government bulldozers with the aid of security forces after Owerri youths were overpowered.
This led to scampering of the traders who opened their shops and catered away their items for fear of losing their wares to the bulldozers. Some of their goods got destroyed in the process.
As at the time of filing this report, buying and selling has abruptly stopped as the market remain deserted. Government bulldozers have remained stationed at the Plaza thus sending unclear signals if the main market would be demolished soonest.
“As at this morning, the market remain untouched though activities have ceased. We are hoping that the market is left alone” one of the traders said.
No State government official agreed to speak on the chaos the demolition of the market had generated this morning. A press statement is expected awaited from the state government.
The monthly Clean Up exercise was conducted on a low key as many residents took caution over the ceaseless teargas canisters fired by security forces.
The aggrieved youths later retreated and lot bonfires around Douglas road by Mbaise road to express their displeasure on the demolition.
More details later.