Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha has come under fire for claiming that nobody died during the demolition of Eke Ukwu Owerri Market, last Saturday.
Vanguard reports that several persons, including the victims of last Saturday’s demolition exercise in Owerri, have condemned the stories put out by Imo State Government and security agencies, to the effect that nobody died in the incident.
Speaking exclusively to Vanguard yesterday in his 23 Oguamanam Street, Owerri residence, Mr. Isaiah Ibeanusi, father of the slain Somtochukwu Ibeanusi, expressed regret that government and the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Chris Ezike, could feed the public lies.
“How can they say that nobody died in the incident, when my only son is now lying in the morgue of the Federal Medical Centre, FMC, Owerri? This is very sad.
“My 10-year-old son and his sister were religiously carrying out my instructions of moving our wares to a safe place,” adding that not long after, news that somebody had been killed rented the air.
He continued: “I went looking for the children I left behind. Behold, I spotted Somtochukwu at Mbaise Road, where he was lying in a pool of his blood. I picked him up and rushed him to FMC, where a doctor on duty confirmed him dead.”
‘I told my Bishop’ He said after depositing the boy’s corpse at FMC morgue, he went to complain to Archbishop Anthony Obinna at Maria Assumpta Cathedral, Owerri.
According to him, “I am a native of Umudim, Nnewi, Anambra State. How can I tell this horrible story to my people that my son was shot in his head for committing no known crime? I am really devastated.”
Asked if the Police has visited him since the incident occurred, the bereaved father said he was yet to see any policeman. He added: “Archbishop Obinna was visibly angry over the incident. He prayed for the entire family and urged us to bear the loss with fortitude.”
When Vanguard visited Mr. Sebastian Oparaku in the male ward of FMC, he narrated how a stray bullet hit him when he was shaving inside his house. “I thank God that I am still alive to tell my story; I can say that since I didn’t die on that first night, there is hope that I will live,” Oparaku said and dozed off. ‘There’s a bullet in my thigh’ In his account, Mr. Leonard Ebubeagu Osuji, who still has a bullet lodged in his thigh, said Owerri people remained committed to sustaining their ancestral market, Ekeukwu Owerri.
He said: “It is shocking to hear that no life was lost and the operation was successfully executed.
“I am billed for an operation tomorrow (today), to extract a bullet lodged inside my thigh.
“There is a subsisting court order restraining government from tampering with the ancestral market until the hearing and determination of the suit.”
Contacted, the state’s Commissioner of Police, Mr. Chris Ezike, said no report was lodged in any police formation in the state. Told that Vanguard was calling him from the residence of the slain Somtochukwu, the Police boss said he will send intelligence officers to interview the family.
Army denies claim
Also contacted yesterday, spokesman for the Brigade, Lieutenant Haruna Tagwai, said soldiers did not shoot anybody. Tagwai said: “Please, don’t go and write what you don’t know. The soldiers deployed to the market did not shoot anybody.”