The Catholic Bishop of Orlu Diocese, Most Rev. Augustine T. Ụkwụọma has condemned the burning down of Eke Utu market by Operatives of the Nigerian Army and Ebubeagu vigilante group.
The market located in Orsu Local Government Area of Imo State was set ablaze on Saturday by the security agencies who invaded Orsuihiteukwa community in Orsu Local Government Area of Imo State.
The invasion exercise resulted in the death of at least two persons and the burning down of the Eke ututu market which is the economic mainstay of the people of Orsu Local Government Area and other surrounding communities.
Bishop Ukwuoma in a statement on Monday said he has severally in the past condemned the wasting of human life either by state or non-state actors.
“I still maintain the view, that human life is sacred and should be respected (Exodus 20:13.) Violence begets violence and the circle continues. Genuine dialogue remains the answer. My sincere condolences go to ALL families who lost loved ones during this painful incident. May the souls of these our brethren rest in peace.
“The burning down of Eke ututu market has added another sad dimension to our existing bad situation. The inhabitants of this area are petty traders and subsistent farmers who live
basically from hand to mouth.
“They go to the market to sell their produce and buy food for the day to feed their families. With this market destroyed and their means of livelihood dislodged, I am struggling to answer the following questions:
1. What security threat did Eke ututu market pose to the society?
2. Did the perpetrators of this mayhem think of how many indigent people who depend on this market for their main source of livelihood?
3. Did they think of the number of children who will have nothing to eat because their parents have lost their sources of income?
4. Did they think of the resources burnt especially during this economic hardship?
5. Did they think of the psychological trauma these local inhabitants will go through due to the violent act?
“I strongly condemn the destruction of Eke ututu market. The burning down of this market has negatively touched the very core of the existence of these people who may be changed to a
life of misery given the present economic strangulation we are in.
“I appeal to government authorities to investigate this incident and take necessary steps to prevent reoccurrence.
Finally, I appeal to all to remain steadfast in our prayer for peace in our region”.