Commercial activities in the hub of Imo State capital, Owerri, were paralyzed on Saturday after a 10-year-old boy, Somtochukwu Ibeanusi, was allegedly shot dead by military men from the 34 Artillery Brigade.
The Punch reports that the soldiers were deployed to maintain law and order during the forceful demolition of the Owerri Main Market, popularly known as Eke -Ukwu Owerri, by the state government.
It was gathered that many other residents were hospitalised owing to injuries sustained when the soldiers allegedly opened fire as youths protested against the demolition of the market.
Following the death of the protester, Owerri natives proceeded to set fire to the properties belonging to some residents, which led to a fight and resulted to the death of two others.
Speaking on the incident to pressmen, the father of the deceased, Isaiah Ibeanusi, said the military men shot his son at the back of his head and that he died instantly.
He added that the tragedy happened while he was trying to remove his goods during the demolition exercise, which was supervised by the army, police, Department of State Services, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps and Air Force.
His words: “While I was trying to remove my goods from the shop, I was alerted that my son had been shot by the Army.
“I quickly rushed to the scene but my son was already dead. He was shot in the back of his head. The soldiers that shot the bullet did not care, they quickly moved on.”
NAN reports that the State Governor Rochas Okorocha had issued an evacuation order to the traders advising them to relocate to a new site to make way for development at the market site.
The efforts were resisted by the natives of the area, who fought the relocation of the market by the state government.
However, the market was demolished in the middle of the night by bulldozers already stationed at the scene despite the efforts of the natives.