Sowore Slams Nigerian Army For Shutting Banex Plaza In Abuja Over Soldiers, Traders’ Clash

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Omoyele Sowore, a well-known Nigerian activist and former presidential aspirant, has criticized the Nigerian Army for the closure of Banex Plaza in Abuja.

In a post on his X account on Tuesday, Sowore expressed his view that this action represents a suppression of civilian spaces by soldiers and should be put to an end.

It is worth noting that the Nigerian Army announced the closure of a popular market for electronic and telecommunications gadgets in Abuja after a clash occurred between some traders and soldiers on Saturday.

The incident, which gained widespread attention over the weekend, began with the sale of a faulty phone by a trader to a soldier.

However, on Tuesday, the Army stated that the plaza was shut down due to the assault on its unarmed personnel by some hoodlums in the market.

Providing an update on the matter, a statement issued by the Director of Army Public Relations, Major General Onyema Nwachukwu, emphasized this point.

“Following the recent unrest at Banex Plaza in Wuse, Abuja, on Saturday 18 May 2024, by yet to be identified hoodlums who launched a brutal attack on some Nigerian Army personnel, a swift intervention by soldiers and policemen on internal security duties salvaged the situation and rescued the attacked personnel from being lynched by the hoodlums.

“It is important to note that the soldiers attacked were unarmed, did not engage in any form of aggression, and posed no threat to anyone. Therefore, the cruel treatment meted out to them was entirely unwarranted and unjustifiable.

“In response to this unfortunate incident, a meeting was convened with the management of Banex Plaza to identify and apprehend the perpetrators of this heinous act by temporarily shutting down activities in the plaza to ensure that the hoodlums who have been using the Banex neighborhood as a sanctuary to pose a security threat to the Federal Capital Territory were apprehended.”

Reacting to the statement, Sowore asked the army authorities to swiftly end the siege and order the soldiers to leave the civilian space.

He said,

It is unheard of, even under military rule, that civilian spaces would be shut down in a business that employs thousands over a disagreement between soldiers and civilians.

“The Nigerian army should stop military men who are not on active duties from putting on uniforms, so many of these military men have been caught in heinous crimes.

“Recently, the @HQNigerianArmy leveled a village in Delta state, and now you’re using the might of the military to shut down commercial activities in a matter that is purely a civil matter; military men have abducted journalists and arbitrarily engaged in repression.”

“These acts must stop immediately! #RevolutionNow,” he added.

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