ANAMBRA .BOKO HARAM - CopyMarkets across Anambra State were shut down on Saturday as traders in their hundreds protested the alleged move to relocate Boko Haram prisoners to Ekwulobia Prison in Aguata Local Government Area and elsewhere in the region.

 

Highlights:
  • The protesting traders claim that the move is a plan to destabilize the peace reigning in the southeast
  • There has been no official confirmation of the decision which is said to be part of the federal government’s Radicalization Implementation Programme for violent criminals
  • MASSOB warns that the traders’ protests would be child’s play if the alleged plan is not dropped
  • The traders’ umbrella body is said to be determined to keep the markets shut until Monday so as to monitor the situation.

 

Details

Hundreds of traders poured into the streets and highways to protest the rumoured decision to relocate Boko Haram prisoners to prisons in Anambra state and elsewhere in the South-East.

The traders said their lives and existence were being threatened if the rumour was anything to go by.

Channels Television reports that traders went wild with song, expressing their dissatisfaction over the story and said it would be resisted to the last, as there were no maximum prisons to secure the insurgents if they were relocated as they heard.

According To Sunnewsonline, it took the intervention of policemen from different police divisions led by the Area Commander, AC Philip Ezekiel, to avert blood bath and also to dismantle the roadblocks already mounted by the protesting traders along Onitsha-Owerri road, Enugu- Onitsha- Asaba Expressway and Niger Street leading to Onitsha Main market.
anambra.protestSome of the traders carried placards with various inscriptions such as: “Mr. President, we support you, but not on this planned Boko Haram prisonners relocation,” “Buhari, why now?” “Anambra Traders say no to Boko Haram detainees on our soil,” President Buhari, Anambra State is too calm for Boko Haram!

A similar protest rally was also organized by Nnewi Traders Association. The President of the union, Chief Edward Muozam, led the group from Nkwo Nnewi Roundabout to Ibeto Avenue, Old Nnewi-Onitsha Road and Nwanyi Imo Bus Stop causing human and vehicular traffic that lasted for hours. He said the traders totally rejected the planned relocation of Boko Haram prisoners to the Southeast.

His counterpart in the South East Amalgamated Traders Association, Chief Okwudili Ezenwankwo, while also addressing the traders, declared that the alleged plan by the Federal Government to relocate detained Boko Haram insurgents to the state was unacceptable to the traders who constitute about 75 percent of the state’s population.

 

Complex security situation

The market leaders said relocating detained insurgents to Anambra State would complicate the already complex security situation. They maintained that the protest was in the best interest of the Igbo nation and accordingly advised President Muhammadu Buhari and his security team to think twice on the planned decision as Anambra traders would not allow any threat to the peaceful atmosphere and crime- free environment being enjoyed by the people of the state.

According to Ezenwankwo, more prisons should be built in the Northeast to accommodate the detained insurgents, rather than bringing them to the Southeast to pollute the relative peaceful environment in the area.

Speaking in the same vein, the Publicity Secretary of the traders’ union, Dede Uzor A. Uzor, said the alleged plot was to destabilize the peace reigning in the Southeast. His words:

“We see this as a plot to destabilize the peace of the state, hence their comrades in arms will be relocated or focus their attention to the state especially on how they will storm the prisons to rescue their colleagues. Recall what they did in Kogi and Adamawa which led to the death of innocent citizens.”

Also commenting on the development, the leader of the Progressives People’s Alliance in Anambra State and publisher of Orient Dailies and Magazines, Mr. Godwin Ezeemo, said the planned action, if true, was not in tandem with social reformation and peaceful coexistence, as such mix up could pollute the minds of other inmates awaiting trial or serving jail terms for other minor offences.

 

Massob warning

On his own part, the National Director of Information of the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), Comrade Chris Mocha, warned that the traders’ protest would be a child’s play, if the Federal Government failed to cancel the arrangement.

 

Confirmation?

When contacted on phone, the Deputy Controller in charge of Awka Prisons, Mathew Kalu, declined comments. But a top security official in the state who pleaded anonymity confirmed that plans were underway by the Federal Government to relocate some suspected terrorists to Aguata Prisons in Anambra State. The source disclosed that the government through the office of the National Security Adviser had announced the Radicalization Implementation Programme for violent criminals where they will be relocated to other parts of the country.

The traders’ umbrella body is said to be determined to keep the markets shut until Monday so as to monitor the situation.

NP/Channels TV/Sunnewsonline

 

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