The Human Rights Writers Association Of Nigeria (HURIWA) has asked the minister of FCT Malam Muhammad Bello to re-open Dei- Dei market, find a way to rebuild the infrastructures destroyed by commercial motorcyclists in a fracas yesterday Wednesday or ban the operation of commercial motorcyclists in Deidei and Kubwa for justice, equity and fairness.
The rights group said it is offensive to the principle of natural justice that two parties were involved in a fracas but the authority rather than make peace and create harmony and reconciliation decided to back one of the combatants because of religious motive. HURIWA said the role of a minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is that of service without bitterness or sectionalism since ministers are appointed for all of Nigerians.
“We do not want to believe that it is true that the FCT Minister who is a Nigerian will adopt controversial and unnatural steps that offends the commercial interests of his fellow citizens and let off the motor cyclists who are largely illegal aliens from Niger Republic, Chad and just a sprinkling of moslem Northern Nigerians only because traders at Dei Dei market that fought with Okada riders are mostly Igbos from Southern Nigeria and are Christians by faith orientation.
“We call on President Muhammadu Buhari who constitutionally is the governor of FCT to ask his subordinate, the FCT Minister to adopt solution that won’t be seen as favouring a party in a fight by two parties only because the favoured party are almost 100 percent Moslems sharing same faith system with the minister.
Leadership is not to bow to religious or ethnic sentiments. leadership must be altruistic, nationalistic, just, fair and equitable and the Minister who has worked harmoniously with peoples of all faith systems and ethnicity for years, should not now be remotely connected to this sort of story of open but shameful partiality and crude biasness.”
HURIWA recalled that the FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Bello, has ordered the immediate closure of the Dei-Dei International Building Material Market following yesterday’s violence which claimed four lives.
Trouble started at the market when an unidentified female trader reportedly fell off a commercial motorcycle and was crushed to death by an articulated vehicle.
Other traders from the market then burnt the motorcycle blaming the biker of reckless riding. Their action however prompted a reprisal from okada riders in the area who regrouped in large number and went into the timber section of the market and set it ablaze.
The FCT Minister while inspecting the scene of the incident with FCT Commissioner of Police Sunday Babaji, the Director State Security Services, alongside other sister security agencies and top officials of the FCT Administration, directed for the indefinite closure of the market.
Bello directed the community and the market leaders to fish out the hoodlums responsible for the crisis.
He said, “The community and market leaders must fish out hoodlums and bad eggs among them, unfortunately this time around hoodlums carry arms and they shot innocent people. As a matter of fact, I saw four corpses. This is very sad and totally unacceptable in Abuja.
“We have agreed with security agencies that full scale investigations will be done, and the communities have to be part and parcel of the solution or else there will be no peace. In the interim, the timber market and the surrounding markets, including all the activities along the road that have clustered it and made it unpassable will all stop until the technical team reviews everything, and then we will take the next decision.
“I am appealing to other communities within the FCT that there is no tribal or religious misunderstanding because all the leadership of various communities have lived here in peace for many years. This is simply the matter of criminals and hoodlums taking the laws into their hands” he said.
On his part, the vice chairman of Timber Shed market Dei-Dei, Ifeanyi Chibata told the minister and his team that about 45 to 50 shops were burnt with 25 vehicles set ablaze during the unrest.
The secretary Tomato and Onion Sellers Association Dei-Dei, Dahiru Garba Mani disclosed that four persons were killed during the clash in the market.
They both appealed to the minister of FCT to make provision for a police division with adequate personnel.
HURIWA has however asked the minister to rescind his decision which is offensive to constitutionalism, equity, fairness and equality before the law of natural justice and respect to human rights of all.