By Tony Adibe
The story circulating in the social media claiming that the Lagos State Government has targeted for demolition shops belonging to Igbo traders at the popular Alaba International Market in Ojo Local Government Area of Lagos State is a fake news from the mischievous imagination of the author.
This is the position of the highest Igbo socio-cultural organization, the Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu-led Ohanaeze Ndigbo, based on its finding after a thorough investigation, according to the National Publicity Secretary, Dr. Alex Ogbonnia in a statement issued Saturday evening and made available to NewsBits.
He said that the attention of Ohanaeze Ndigbo worldwide has been drawn to several fake publications circulating on social media alleging a decision by the Lagos State Government to take actions to victimize the Igbo citizens domiciled in Lagos.
Dr Ogbonnia said that since the disturbing news broke out, “we have made investigations in order to establish the true state of affairs,” adding that 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”.
Ogbonnia also said in the statement, “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”.
The statement further noted that, “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”.
Ogbonnia also said that 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.” The Ohanaeze spokesman said: “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. The 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 Southwest in the next few weeks. He is very optimistic that during the visit, all the challenges confronting the Igbo in Lagos will be addressed.”