Okorocha denies death of three people in Owerri market demolition

Okorocha denies death of three people in Owerri market demolition

- Onwuemeodo, Okorocha's media aide, says there were no deaths recorded

- After denying the reports, the state government also ordered security agencies to investigate the matter

- Earlier reports had claimed that at least one life was lost during the demolition exercise which was reportedly resisted by some traders

Imo governor Rochas Okorocha has denied reports that at least one life was lost when a stray bullet hit a boy during the demolition of a market in Owerri, the state capital on Saturday, August 26.

In a press statement released late on Saturday by Governor Rochas Okorocha's chief press secretary Sam Onwuemeodo, the state government denied any death.

It described reports of death as 'wicked rumours'.

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The statement read: "It has come to our knowledge, the deliberate and Concerted effort being made by some elements who do not love Progress to use the relocation of the Ekeukwu Owerri market, to blackmail the government of the day and perhaps cause undue tension in the State.

Okorocha denies death of three people in Owerri market demolition
Governor Okorocha wearing a smile amid heavily armed security at the demolition on Saturday, August 26. Photo: Laila's blog

"These people who have refused or failed to appreciate the good of relocating Ekeukwu market Owerri to a more acceptable area have been dishing out rumours upon rumours including rumours of people being shot dead. These are wicked rumours.

"The truth is that the Market is government’s Property and it is the decision of the government to relocate it to a better place and such action could not have led to such incident.

"The Security Personnel around the market were there to ensure peace and they played that role professionally.

"We are also aware that before now the hoodlums who have been using the market and environs as areas of their Operations have been threatening fire and brimstone over the government’s decision to move the market.

Okorocha denies death of three people in Owerri market demolition
Traders locked out of the market on Saturday. Photo: Laila's blog

"These hoodlums had also embarked on looting which led their being Confronted by some of the traders and it took the timely intervention of the Security Personnel to restore Order in that part of the market.

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"Unfortunately, those who hate progress have gone out with certain disturbing Claims and have also posted some photographs that have nothing to do with the Owerri issue on the social media just to see if they could discredit the government and the patriotic action taken in the overall interest of the State.

"And Nigerians who have been following events in the State would attest that for almost two years the government has been announcing its intention to relocate the Ekeukwu Market to a better place.

Okorocha denies death of three people in Owerri market demolition
The market after the demolition on Saturday, August 26. Photo: Laila's blog

The governor has asked the Security agencies in the State to investigate the rumours for the truth to be ascertained."

Recall that Legit.ng had earlier reported that a young Nigerian boy was reportedly hit and killed by a stray bullet in Imo state.

The innocent boy was said to have gone into the market to help his mother move her wares after the government began the demolition of the ancient Eke Ukwu market in Owerri.

Okorocha denies death of three people in Owerri market demolition
Armed security operatives at the demolition. Photo: Laila's blog

While the traders and occupants of the market protested wildly against the move, the demolition still took place.

A huge number of soldiers were said to have been deployed to the market area ahead of the demolition.

Other reports claimed the death toll was higher.

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Source: Legit.ng

Authors:
Akinyemi Akinrujomu avatar

Akinyemi Akinrujomu Akinyemi Akinrujomu is a professionally-trained journalist with over 17 years of experience. His knowledge spans print, broadcast, and online media. He has worked in several top media organizations in Nigeria. He has also pioneered several print media publications. He is a graduate of History and International Studies from the Lagos State University and he also holds a professional National Diploma in Journalism. He loves reading, travelling and listening to music.

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