Following the demolition of the popular Owerri market, Eke-Ukwu Owerri, in Imo State, the United Labour Congress (ULC) has called on Governor Rochas Okorocha to resign, while urging the military to investigate the soldiers responsible for the violent measures taken to forcefully evict traders from the market.
At least three people, including a ten-year-old child, were killed in the demolition, and millions of naira worth of property and goods were destroyed.
The ULC, in a press statement signed by its president, Comrade Joe Ajaero, disclosed that the courts had not yet given approval to the Imo State government to demolish the popular market, and the case is still pending adjudication.
Governor Rochas Okorocha therefore disregarded the rule of law by ordering the demolition of Eke-Ukwu Owerri.
“We condemn this as barbaric, unconscionable and out of sync with the dictates of modern societies that thrive on strict adherence to the rule of law and natural justice. This, once again, is a national eyesore that leaves a deep gash on our collective conscience as a people and as a country,” the ULC stated.
Condemning the governor in using force to evict traders from the market, the group added that any government that cannot submit to rule of law is not fit to continue as the head of a state.
“We are aghast at the continued militarization of governance processes and the deployment of high-handed and violent methods in attempting to settle disputes arising out of government decisions that the people consider wrong-headed or ill-advised. Any governor that cannot patiently subject himself to the dictates of the law loses the right to continue in office. He becomes a threat to democracy and democratic practices as he places himself above the law through which he in the first place assumed office.
“ULC does not see any reason, no matter how well thought out, for Rochas to embark on self-help and lawlessness in a matter that is before courts. He has not only shown disdain for the courts but has also shown deep contempt for the people of the state and indeed the whole of Nigeria.
“We therefore are forced to call for the immediate resignation of Rochas Okorocha on the basis of this perfidy and the threat he has become not only to his own people, but also to Nigerians knowing fully that if he continues contributing to the destruction of our nation, Nigerian workers who we represent will be the first casualties. He has made his continued occupation of that exalted office tenuous and horrendous.
“ULC demands the immediate investigation of the circumstances under which the killings and maiming of innocent life were carried out in a peaceful time. We demand that the officers involved in this act be prosecuted by the courts and, if found culpable, incarcerated. This action has totally undermined the office of the GOC commanding the 36th military Battalion at Obinze whose officers may have constantly been used against the people. We therefore call for his immediate removal and prosecution,” the statement concluded.