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Customers stranded as Nnewi traders shut market over members’ arrest

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By Praise Necherem

at the parts Nkwo market, Anam­bra state, were at the weekend following the closure of shops by traders over alleged arrest of members by the police.

The police had arrested about 34 persons suspected to be mem­bers of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) after a clash it had with the pro-Biafra group.

The fracas had led to the death of a policeman and one of its members.

The decision to shut down the market which took to the market by surprise was in protest of arrest of its members mistaken for IPOB.

Orient Daily gathered that no fewer than 10,000 shops at the market were under lock and key, resulting to frustration and disappointment from those who came to transact business in the market.

Some of them who spoke to our correspondent expressed sad­ness over the ugly situation, de­scribing the closure of the market as unnecessary. “Why will they shut down the market because some few persons were arrested? I don’t even know where to go to buy the spare parts for my car,” lamented a business man who gave his name as Johnson.

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The traders had converged at the central park in the market as early as 9:am, and insisted that the apprehended persons were traders and not members of the pro-Biafra group.

They displayed placards with varying inscriptions: “Release our members; they are not IPOB members; Governor Obiano, hear our cry; innocent masters and servants were all arrested; we are not criminals; we are traders doing our legitimate trading, among others.

Briefing newsmen during the protest, Chairman of Parts Dealers Asso­ciation (AMSPDA), Chief Gabri­el Chibueze alleged that over 20 traders from the market were in police custody. He demanded for their immediate release before anything could happen to them.

He said, “I still wonder why our traders will be arrested be­cause the arrests were made at the market two hours after the clash be­tween the police and members of the IPOB at another section of the market. “We are not involved in the police attack. We were do­ing our legitimate business at Nkwo when members of the IPOB entered our market.

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“We never invited them and they never told us they were coming. We were confused that after the incident police began to arrest everyone they saw in the market both masters and their servants. We are not criminals or law breakers and we enjoy peace in our market.”

He appealed to the Nnewi po­lice area commander, the Anam­bra state commissioner of police, the inspector general of police and Governor Obiano to order the immediate release of the .

A police officer, who preferred anonymity, however alleged that the traders were involved in van­dalising the police patrol vans which made the police to arrest them. He, however, assured that those found innocent would be eventually released.

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