Protest rocked Ado Ekiti, the capital of Ekiti State, on Wednesday, as irate traders protest against alleged ‘disturbance’ from task force officials of the Ekiti State Ministry of Works.
The protesters vandalised offices of the ministry and attacked the office of the State Commissioner for Works, Mrs Funmi Ogun.
It was gathered that early on Wednesday morning, officials of the ministry popularly called ‘Dagrin’ in the state capital had prevented street trading in the city by arresting and seizing wares of many who had displayed them on the streets.
Angered by the development, the traders, most of whom were alleged to be Igbo traders, decided to protest what they termed government’s officials’ “deliberate plan to rob them of profiting from the boom sales characteristic of the yuletide.”
They made bonfires on Oja-Oba market road and made for the office of the Ministry of Works on Ajilosun axis of Ikere Road in the state capital, and allegedly vandalised everything in sight, the windows, doors among others in the offices.
It was also gathered that the State’s Works Commissioner narrowly escaped being lynched, as it was evident the protesters wanted her head.
Addressing reporters, one of the protesters, on the condition of anonymity, explained.
He said: “The task force should realise that this is festive period, Christmas is just four days while new years is less than two weeks. And it is time like this that selling, especially on the streets booms. So, they ought to allow us to do our business now.
“Many of us have market stalls in the demolished markets and are awaiting spaces in the new Oja-Oba market under construction. We cannot afford to go and get shops now as that would be too expensive.
“So they should pardon us for this time. At least, we have obeyed them all along before now.”
Meanwhile, anti-riot policemen, who were dispatched to the scene of protest, eventually ensured calm after using tear-gas on the protesters severally to disperse them. They also arrested some of the protesters.
Governor Ayodele Fayose also went to the scene of protest to appeal to frayed nerves and ensured there was peace. (Channels TV)
•Photo shows Governor Fayose.