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News - North Central - FCT Updated: May 22, 2024

Sowore faults closure of Banex Plaza following traders, soldiers altercation

By TIMOTHY TIMILEHIN ENIETAN-MATTHEWS
May 22, 2024
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Nigerian activist and politician Omoyele Sowore, on Wednesday, condemned the actions of the Nigerian Army after they shut down the popular Banex Plaza in Abuja. The closure follows a reported altercation between soldiers and traders at the plaza last weekend.

Details regarding the incident remain unclear. However, reports suggest a dispute arose between a group of soldiers and traders, potentially over a faulty phone purchase. The disagreement escalated, culminating in a physical confrontation.

The Nigerian Army responded by deploying troops to the plaza on Monday, effectively shutting it down and barring entry to traders and shoppers. The action has drawn criticism from Sowore, who argues that the closure punishes innocent civilians for an isolated incident.

"These acts of repression must stop immediately!" Sowore declared in a statement. He argues that shutting down a major commercial centre with a significant number of employees is an excessive response to a singular event.

The FCT Police Command previously intervened in the initial clash between soldiers and traders, successfully restoring order. However, the Army's subsequent closure of the plaza raises concerns about the use of military force in civilian matters.

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Sowore's statement calls for an end to such practices, urging authorities to find alternative solutions to manage potential conflict between the military and civilians.

He noted, "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 levelled 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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