Traders under the auspices of South-East Amalgamated Market Traders Association (SEAMATA) yesterday said that they support the Biafran movement and would never disown it, but condemned the invasion of their markets by the pro-Biafra agitators.
The President-General of SEAMATA, Chief Okwudili Ezenwankwo, in a statement signed with the secretary Mr. Temple Udeh, said that in as much as the traders support the movement for Biafran state, it condemned the attitude of the pro-Biafra agitators/ protesters that was infiltrated by miscreants.
The traders stated that the invasion of the markets by Biafra supporters in the name of protest, which led to vandalisation and destruction of shops, vehicles and other valuables belonging to their fellow Igbos was not only condemnable but unacceptable.
According to the traders, “to set the record straight and for the purposes of clarity, the traders are not challenging the constitutional right of peaceful assembly of any one. We only condemned the attitude of the protesters (or miscreants that infiltrated them) that went into markets chased the traders out and closed the entrances to the market.
“It was the maturity of the leadership that directed the security men in these markets not to challenge them that forestalled casualties. The protest was not peaceful as it recorded casualities. If the Pro-Biafra protesters held their protest in a field or any stadium, there wouldn’t have been any issue to warrant all these misrepresentation of intentions”, they stated.
The traders recalled that when it protested the alleged relocation of Boko Haram detainees to Anambra State, the protesters went on without harassing or disturbing anybody going about his of her businesses, adding that when the entire South East traders protested, and another protest took place in Ekwulobia stadium, no individual was molested unlike the pro-Biafra protesters.
“We all are Igbos, both traders and protesters, and are not in contention that the problem of one Igbo man shall attract the sympathy of the other: saying this, is stressing the obvious. But it is against natural justice and fairness to create a more difficult problem as a solution to an existing one.”