Auwal Bab-Suleiman, Seriki Hausa in Imo State, has debunked the reports of an attempt by the state government to evacuate some northerners from the state.
At the weekend, sections of the popular Hausa community market, Hassan Market, in Avu, Owerri West Local Council of the state, were engulfed by fire, damaging shops and goods worth millions of naira.
The incident triggered speculation that it was a calculated attempt by the agents of the state government to force them to leave the market and possibly relocate to their states.
But speaking to newsmen in Owerri, on Monday, the traditional cum spiritual leader, insisted that the speculation was handiwork of mischief-makers, who want to truncate the existing peace and harmony enjoyed by northerners in the state.
The Seriki Imo also used the opportunity to appreciate the state governor, Senator Hope Uzodimma for sponsoring 200 Muslims resident in the state to the 2023 Hajj in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.
He described the sponsorship of the 200 pilgrims by the state government as the highest and unprecedented in the history of the nation. According to him, “Governor Uzodimma, since his assumption of office, has demonstrated genuine love, concern and acceptance of people of all tribes resident in the state, especially the northerners.”
He also applauded the Governor for ensuring that the northerners among others in the state enjoy equal welfare packages and opportunities for their socio-economic growth and development.
He said: “We are here to clear the air on the fire incident that happened at Hassan Market in Avu, a few days ago. We heard that the Hausa community has been chased away and most of the market areas were being destroyed. That was what we saw on social media. But that was not true.
“I also want our people to understand that the Governor will never have the intention to evacuate or humiliate any Hausa man in Imo State, having known what he has been doing for the Hausa communities from the time he became the Governor of the state.
“For instance, he recently sponsored 200 Muslims to Mecca and that is the highest that has happened in the whole nation because we have never got up to that slot in a state.”
“The Governor is a Hausa-loving man. He accommodates everybody. And I want my brothers here to understand that if there is any issue, they are free to come to the palace and align with the leaders.
“We have access to the Governor. He is a listening Governor and I believe that if there is any issue, the Governor will iron it out amicably and ensure that the northerners are happy wherever they find themselves in the state.”