Stephen Ukandu, Umuahia
President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu is to visit Lagos in the coming days over the proposed demolition by the Lagos State Authorities of shops built on waterways at the Alaba International Market.
This is sequel to a viral video that Lagos State Government had allegedly given a day ultimatum to Igbo traders in Alaba International Market to vacate the market for not voting for the candidates of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, during the 2023 general election.
But Ohanaeze dismissed the claims in the said video as false.
Alaba International Market is said to be dominated by Igbo traders.
A statement issued Saturday by Ohanaeze Ndigbo, however, explained that the planned demolition is not targeted at Ndigbo nor all the shops in the market contrary to claims by the trending video.
According to the statement signed by the Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Dr Alex Ogbonnia, only shops built on waterways that are obstructing free flow of water would be affected in the proposed demolition.
Ohanaeze, however, appealed to Lagos State Government, to exercise prudence and best considerations during the exercise.
The statement said that Chief Iwuanyanwu, would, during the visit, tackle other issues affecting Ndigbo in Lagos and other parts of Yorubaland during the visit in the days ahead.
It read in part: “President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Chief Dr. Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, CFR (Ahaejiagamba) expresses concern over the lingering problems in Lagos.
“While urging the Lagos State Environment and Development Authority to exercise prudence and best considerations in discharging their duties, he asks the Igbo in Lagos to remain calm.
“He has therefore indicated a pressing need to visit Lagos and the South-West in the next few weeks. He is very optimistic that during the visit, all the challenges confronting the Igbo in Lagos will be addressed.”
The statement further said that Ohanaeze had made some investigations, and confirmed that contrary to the circulating videos, the planned demolition is not on all shops in Alaba Market but only those built on waterways.
“The attention of Ohanaeze Ndigbo worldwide has been drawn to several fake publication circulating on social media alleging a decision by the Lagos State Government to take actions to victimise the Igbo citizens domiciled in Lagos.
“Since the disturbing news broke out, we have made investigations in order to establish the true state of affairs. One of the reliable sources, Hon. Comrade Chinedu Ukatu, Member, Lagos State Market Advisory Council and President Ndigbo-Amaka Progressive Market Association, stated that “the Lagos State Environment and Development Authority has been issuing warnings as regards the obstruction of some water ways.”
“Ukatu added: “All that happened at Alaba and the emergency visit by the State Government Officials were directly about those blocking the free flow of water through the provided water ways.
“Ukatu added that the directive is “not in any way related to plazas and shops on the markets or along the market road.” Ukatu enjoins all and sundry to “disregard the statements and video messages trending on the Internet and admonished that such propaganda is not necessary for the Igbo at this time.
“Another Alaba resident, Chief Ikechukwu Okolo stated: “The truth is that, some structures were erected on waterways, thereby obstructing drainages and causing flooding, especially during the rainy seasons.
“According to Okolo, “the owners of the affected structures have since been notified, for months, but as we can see, each time the execution order was to be effected, corrupt Government officials would get compromised, and the flooding challenge continues, until this time.
“Chief Evaristus Ozonweke, an Ohaneze chieftain, resident in Lagos, has also validated the above position.”