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In a rare show of brotherhood and sympathy,the Igbo Council of Ndieze in Lagos State on Tuesday, June 27, 2023, paid a Royal sympathy and on the spot assessment visit to Alaba International Market in Ojo local government Area,LGA , to commiserate with the displaced traders over the demolition of their buildings and shops by the Enforcement team of the Lagos State Building Control Agency, LASBCA, in collaboration with the Lagos State Task Force.
News Planet International reports that the visit was led by Chairman of the Council, Eze Christopher Offia , notable Igbo Leaders, Stakeholders and many Ezes cut across the 20 local government Areas and LCDAs in the State .
The Ezes were received at the partially demolished Union Office of the Fancy and Furniture section of the Alaba International Market,where nearly all the demolition was carried out.
Addressing the market leaders, Eze Offia stated that the visit was a Special Sympathy visit, fact finding mission and on the spot assessment of the level of destruction of property in the market, adding that they did not come on their own but were delegated by their superiors within and outside Lagos State.
After touring the Demolished sites with his entourage, the Ezes expressed shock over the level of damage caused by the demolition, noting that the enemies capitalized on lack of Unity amongst Igbos, infiltrated their folds to cause the damage .
Consoling the traders, Eze Offia however, told the mourning traders that the newly elected president of Ohanaeze Ndigbo World wide, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyawu, is billed to visit Lagos in few weeks time, with the sole aim of meeting all critical stakeholders, Oba’s and Lagos State government concerning issues affecting Ndigbo.
The Chairman who spoke along side other Ezes such as John -Greg Ezebuadi, Eze Peter Umeh, Eze Tony Anosike, Eze Agbo, Eze Agbasi , including Ohanaeze Ndigbo president, Lagos State Chapter, Chief Sunday Stainless Ossia, assured the traders that they did not visit them to deceive or heap empty promises and assurances that would not be fulfilled to the traders but to console and mourn with them.
Offia lamented over Igbos’ huge investments outside Igbo land , which he said was a colossal mistake , urging them to think homeward.
The Ezes who seriously condemned the demolition of buildings and shops owned and occupied mostly by Ndigbo at Alaba International Market , poured libations in front of the Unions office, praying against those responsible for destroying the buildings and their Igbo collaborators.
Rounding up , the Ezes ended their visit at Eze John -Greg Ezebuadi’s palace at Ojo area, where their host entertained them with sumptuous meals and drinks.
Earlier while receiving the Large entourage of Ndieze, President – General and Chairman of the Fancy and Furniture section, who is also a member of Alaba International Market Stakeholders, Mr. Mbonu Udochukwu Geoffrey, alias Man-UD ,who was accompanied by some of his executives,appreciated the royal visitors while lamenting over the colossal damages and lost inflicted upon the displaced traders.
He said that what happened was still a shock to him and the leadership of the market including the traders because the traders had good relationships with both the Ojo Local Government and the State Governments.
According to him, he travelled to the East when he received calls that hundreds of armed Police officers with the Lagos State Government agency, LASBCA, came to the market and pasted notice giving the traders 24 hours to present their documents on the properties in the area, which many presented.
Mbonu,stated that some of the traders actually presented the documents but that did not satisfy the authority who had made up their mind to demolish about 37 buildings comprising hundreds of shops owned by Ndigbo.
For him, the haste and manner the demolition took place suggested that there was a sinister motive behind the act because a company in conjunction with the Ojo Local Government had been sharing flyers over the construction of a mall in the demolished parcels of the land.
Further narrating the traders ugly experiences, how they were spread with canisters of tear gas and prevented from evacuating their goods before the demolition , Mbonu alleged high level conspiracy at high places before the demolition , which he said was aimed at closing down the entire market permanently, if the aggrieved traders had confronted the demolishers or protested on the days of the demolition.
Regretting that the country lacks true federalism, the Market leader fingered Ojo local government Area,as being in the know of the demolition, arguing that Governor Babajide Sanwo Olu was also aware .He noted that the certificate of Occupancy being peddled around now by the developers,was recently issued and backdated, despite the fact that the traders presented their allocation papers from the Ojo local government council to the state government on demand.
” If they told the Governor that the demolition was as a result of building near canal, why did they now exclude many buildings not belonging to the traders and moved deeper into the market to displace the traders?. If it was defective structures or court judgement,why did they not serve the traders or paste copies of the Judgement?, the truth is that the buildings were not defective and that was why their bulldozers had it tough bringing down the shops ,because we did piling foundations here. Before the demolition, we noticed that the local government and the developer were sharing flyers of their proposed Mall and car park at our back, near the canal and because they needed access road, they decided to undertake this demolition”, he explained.
Denying allegations of compromise, sabotage and receiving of N200 Million bribe before allowing the demolition, Mbonu, said he had gone round the market the previous day swearing evil to his life, if he ever he took any money from any quarters to allow the demolition.
Some of the Ezes and Leaders on the Council Of Ndieze entourage are , Eze Christopher Offia, Eze John -Greg Ezebuadi, Eze Remi Anyamele, Eze Tony Anosike, Eze Peter Umeh, Eze Sunny White, Eze E. S. Onuoha, Eze Agbo, Eze Emeka Ugwakome , Eze Steve Etolue , Eze Ikem Agbasi ,Ohanaeze Ndigbo President Lagos state chapter, Chief Sunday Stainless Ossia , Chief Ebekuodike , king Maker Ossia Igwe and the host, President-General Alaba International Market, Mbonu Udochukwu Geoffrey (Man- UD).
Others are Eze (Sir) Ikenna Onuegbu, High Chief B.O. Ajaegboo, Ichie Ezereadi Eze Orjika, Obinwanwe Okeke, Chief Emmanuel Onalife, Chief Iheauacho H.O, Chief Progress Amajuoyi, Chief Christopher Onyemelukwe, Chief Charles Obiakor, Chief Mrs Christiana Daniel, Chief Nze Ken Dike, Chief Emeka Okpara, Chief Nwode Luis, Chief Joseph Ududeze and Prince Innocent Udeh amongst others.