By Doyin Ajayi
About five thousand traders, including market women and widows under the auspices of Association of Wuye Ultra Modern Market Allottees (AWUMMA) on Sunday, July 31, 2016 in Abuja staged a protest over continued harassment, intimidation and suppression by All Purpose Shelters owned by a former governor of Benue State, Gabriel Suswam and his wife, Yemisi.
They also called on President Muhammadu Buhari to intervene in the market crisis despite subsisting judgement by the FCT High Court demanding that traders take possession of their shops.
They carried placards with inscriptions such as, “Mr President, defend the poor traders from persecution”; “Disobedience of court order is corruption”; “Democracy on trial at Wuye market”; as well as “Gabriel & Yemisi Suswan, you killed Benue State, don’t kill Wuye market traders”.
All Purpose Shelters is owned by the wife of immediate past Governor of Benue State, Mrs. Yemisi Suswan.
On July 28 2016, the market reopened for business through the combined efforts of armed mobile policemen from FCT Police Command and Wuye Police Station.
Market women protesting in Wuye
However the next day, the traders were chased away from the market by security men allegedly acting on instructions from ‘the above’.
Briefing newsmen shortly after the protest, the Chairman of AWUMMA, Comrade Nnaemeka Nwobodo called on the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC),World Human Rights, Due Process Office and good spirited individuals to “rise up for justice today for our tomorrow.”
While drumming support for federal government’s anti-corruption fight, he regretted that the worst corruption was to obstruct justice by influential Nigerians like the Suswan’s who uses police to harass traders.
Nwobodo noted that over 5000 members of AWUMMA have resolved to lay down their lives for justice today except if President Buhari intervenes in the crisis even as they enjoined the Presidency to call the FCT Commissioner of Police to order who they accused of obstructing justice in Wuye market.
Also speaking , the Public Relation Officer of AWUMMA, Barr. Sunny Anyanwu noted that after three and half legal battle at the High Court Apo, that the court on 29th April 2015 delivered a landmark judgement in favour of the traders under AWUMMA.
According to him, “It was on the strength of victory again at the Appeal Court that traders wrote to the then FCT Commissioner of Police, Usman Alkali who directed that the court judgement should be respected after obtaining due legal opinion.