All major markets in the South East geopolitical zone were yesterday shut down by traders against alleged decision of the Federal Government to transfer Boko Haram prisoners from the north to Ekwulobia prison in Anambra State.
The one day protest was agreed upon during a well-attended meeting of the South East Amalgamated Traders Association held at 52 Modebe Street in the commercial city of Onitsha on Saturday, July 4.
Participants at the meeting were reportedly drawn from various traders’ unions and associations in the South Eastern states of Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo.
They condemned the alleged transfer of the Boko Haram prisoners to Ekwulobia prison and asked President Muhammadu Buhari to as a matter of urgency, order the removal of the terrorists from Igbo land.
“At our meeting in Onitsha last Saturday, many participants were very angry over the (alleged) attempt by the Federal Government to spread terrorism and terrorists to Igbo land. We have made it clear that we don’t want Boko Haram prisoners anywhere in the South East and the government has no reason whatsoever to bring them here. Their plan is to expose us to danger and we must resist it,” one of the traders told journalists yesterday.
In compliance, the multi-billion naira Ogbete Main Market, Kenyatta Market and Garriki Market, all in Enugu capital city, were under lock and key while reports from Onitsha also said the commercial city has been totally paralyzed as all markets in the town were shut down.
Reports from Ebonyi State and Imo State also indicated that some markets were closed down yesterday as the traders joined the peaceful protest.
Tension has been heightened since the allegation of relocation of the prisoners, with several groups and organizations demanding their immediate removal from the South East. But the Federal Government had remained silent over the issue.
The government, however, beefed up security around the Ekwulobia prison by deploying armed soldiers shortly after the said arrival of the Boko Haram prisoners in the quiet town, headquarters of Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State.
-Newswatch Daily


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