*No one was killed, CP Odumosu insist
Traders at the popular auto spare parts market, Ladipo, Lagos, have alleged that the Air Force personnel shooting led to the death of a trader, with three others still in critical condition over a key starter valued at N3,500.
Reports have it that there were shootings at the Ladipo market during a military invasion yesterday which led to the death of some people, however, the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu who confirmed the unrest insisted that no one was killed as investigation was ongoing to ascertain what really happened.
Speaking with journalists, the traders denied report that they attacked the personnel, maintaining rather that they (personnel) stormed the Aguiyi Ironsi Traders Association wing of the market, leaving in their trail the death of one Felix Nnanna Onu, a 28-year-old man from Ebonyi State.
Three other traders: Makuo Ekwula, Ifeanyi Chidinma and Chikeize, according to them, were still in critical condition at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH.
According to an eyewitness, who identified himself as Ajuluchukwu Ezeanya, “at exactly 11:45am, I came to the Taskforce office to charge my phone, I met the Public Complain Committee Chairman attending to an officer, who was wearing jean and camouflage and a cardigan. He was discussing about a faulty engine he bought. Few minutes later, two young men walked in: one of them wore a white short and long sleeve. He walked inside and said excuse me sir I have a complaint. The PCC chairman said wait, I will attend to you once I am done with the person I am attending to. He said no, I am talking to you, you are discussing with another person. The soldier who was being attended to looked at him and kept quiet. He was still talking when the chairman said, can’t you hear me. The officer said you bloody civilians, I am talking to you. He said this while he was on mufti then the altercation began, so they asked him to go outside. He went outside and began to shout; I am going to deal with you. When he was going out one, Mr. Solomon rushed to him to ask what the problem was? That was when he opened up that the father of the young man he came with sent him to help him retrieve a kick starter. He left and came within ten minutes, in a Hilux van, drove inside with six officers rushing inside, hitting people. Women were not spared. Everywhere was under siege. I was still begging when they started shooting. I held one of them, pleading with him that the casualties would be too much. People began to run for safety. People began to defend themselves, throw stones, and water, I was the only one between the Military personnel and traders. There is nothing like stray bullets hitting people, they were shots aimed directly at traders. The young man wearing white short knelt down, shot one of the victims on his leg, stomach and bottom. When I carried one of the victims trying to rescue him, my body was filled with blood. The same officer pounced on me, he said I should allow him to finish the trader. He pointed a gun at my chest that he would waste me here and nothing will happen.
“Three of those shot are alive with severe injuries and are in critical condition. One has just came out from surgery”.
“It wasn’t tolls that caused the issues, he came to complain, we never knew the reason why he came to the market. We receive unnecessary threats here all the time. Military officers will buy goods come back months later and demand that the goods be changed or they will close down the market. This attitude has been the order of the day”.
Pleading for a thorough investigation, the President General Ladipo market, Jude Chikelu Nwankwo, alleged they are facing series of threats in this market.
“A time will come when traders in Ladipo market will not sell motor spare parts to any military officer. It is getting out of hand, as they keep taking laws into their hands and we are here talking about a kick starter worth N3500.
“A life lost already, three others lying critically in the hospital. We are going to take this matter to the highest authority to ensure we get justice.
“When we got to the office of the Air Force yesterday, the officers were protecting their boys but we told them that we are leaving their office to report to the appropriate quarters. As of yesterday, we aired our own view to them.
“It is quite unfortunate that soldiers will come into the market and start shooting traders directly as if they are animals. The intimidation was too much yesterday (Tuesday).
He stated further that “due to the development, we decided to shut down the market to show the world what happened in Ladipo market and in solidarity with those killed and injured.
That is also the reason why I don’t have time to honour the Air Force Commander that invited us today(yesterday).
“We are not demanding any damages for now, all we want is thorough investigation and justice. Ladipo market is the biggest automobile market in the entire West Africa, as of now we are not talking about how much we lost, we are talking about human life lost over a key starter of N3500”.
On his part, the President, Aguiyi Ironsi international market, Chief Emmanuel Mbamara said that he received a distress call and rushed back to find the entire place like a war zone, as people were running helter skelter.
“They alleged that we attacked the military. With which weapons? We are civilians, we don’t have weapons, we deal on motor parts. We are talking about someone that left home in the morning and by 10 am, he is dead.
“At the meeting with the Airforce commandant yesterday, we discovered they were taking sides, saying their personnel were trained professionals, instead of any of their boys to lose their guns they are permitted to shot.
“For any goods bought from the market, we give a week warranty, which allows customers to return goods bought within one week. There is a difference between guarantee and warranty. We can’t give you a guarantee because I am not the producer. After one week if you come back, you will find it difficult to collect your money. When we buy these goods, we don’t have any parameters which we use to know if a particular engine is okay. We incur a lot of loss in importing these spare parts to the end users”.
Culled from Sunnewsonline