By EVELYN USMAN
Like many of his brethren, Moses Eze, an Agbado-Oja (Ogun State) based trader travelled to his native Imo State for the celebration of the last Christmas and New Year. He even used the period to get married and he returned to Agbado-Oja a boundary town between Lagos and Ogun States, only after the festivities.
He opened his shop for the first time this year last Monday, but even before he could properly close for the day, he was shot dead, victim of a senseless struggle for leadership position by butchers in the market.
Fighting had first broken out between the two factions involved in the leadership struggle at about 5 pm on the fateful day, but was quietly brought under control.
But an hour later when everyone thought the fight was all over, supporters of one of the factions stormed the market shooting indiscriminately. Two of the invading hoodlums reportedly shot Moses.
Narrating how Moses, met his untimely end, one of the traders who pleaded anonymity, said “ When we heard that the touts were coming, people started packing. He too was not left out. As he was about packing some of the clothes he was selling ,the hoodlums got to his shop with one of them pointing a gun at him. He raised up his hand to say he was an Igbo man and not among those fighting. Before he could finish his statement, another hoodlum just came from no where, collected the gun from the first one and shot Moses right in the cheek before they went about their shooting spree”.
Help was not immediately forthcoming as others fled for dear life. When help eventually came, it was too late as he had given up the ghost apparently due to loss of blood.
His young widow, as at Thursday, was yet to be informed about her husband’s demise. But Crime Guard managed to see her in an apartment at Ikuponiyi street, where she was putting up with her relatives. On seeing this reporter , her countenance changed, apparently expecting to be told the obvious. But this reporter played along by asking how her husband was shot. She said: “We just came back from the village last Friday and on our way back, my husband stopped to buy some second hand clothes in Aba, to sell in Lagos.
There was no market on Saturday . So on Monday, we went to the shop together. But in the evening, we started hearing some people chanting ‘ no more vice! no more vice! Before we knew it, a fight broke out and one man advised that it was better everyone started packing for the day.
“As we were packing, the fight stopped and everywhere became calm. But before long, we started hearing gun shots from afar again. And quickly, we started to pack. He told me to pack the new stock while he concentrated on the old ones.
“He told me to rush home with the stock. When I got out, I saw people carrying guns and I rushed to tell him to leave the shop. But he told me to escape first that he could always take care of himself. As we were thinking of what next to do, the people got closer and quickly, he locked himself inside while I used a table to block the door from outside. Before I could turn to run , I saw the armed men around me. One of them almost stabbed me with a knife but I quickly raised up my hands and they allowed me to go. The next thing I heard as I left them was gun shots”
“After the dust had settled, I quickly made for the shop to call him.. Just then, one of his friends came to me, asking about his whereabout and I told him I locked him inside the shop. Together we went but at the entrance, the friend stopped me and went inside. I was shocked because the shop I left closed was opened. Out of curiosity, I went inside , only to find my husband on the floor with a bullet hole in his cheek. My question is was he the only one there at that time? Why would he be the only one to be shot? At this point she paused for a while, looked at this reporter skeptically, unsure of her mission.
Then she continued, “right now, I can not see my husband. I am told he is in the hospital but they would not let me see him”, she lamented.
Meanwhile, the Igbo community has called on the Ogun State Police Command to investigate Moses death in order to bring the assailant to book. The Igbo community which noted that the case of Moses was not the first time an Igbo man had been killed in the area, threatened that any attempt to sweep the case under the carpet would be opposed.
Already, Crime Guard gathered that six persons have been arrested in connection with the murder. But sources said the man that pulled the trigger which snuffed life out of Moses was still on the run. No butcher was sighted in the market, as they all reportedly took to their heels on the day of the incident apparently for fear of being arrested.