By Rotimi Ojomoyela
Ado Ekiti—Tension rose in Ado Ekiti, the capital of Ekiti State, yesterday, as traders protested alleged ‘disturbance’ from task force officials of the Ekiti State Ministry of Works.
The protesters vandalized offices of the ministry and attacked the office of the state Commissioner for Works, Mrs. Funmi Ogun.
It was gathered that early yesterday morning, officials of the ministry popularly called ‘Dagrin’ in the state capital had prevented street trading by arresting and seizing wares of many who displayed them on the streets.
Miffed 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 stop them from benefiting from the boom in sales characteristic of the yuletide.”
They made bonfires on Oja-Oba market road and made for Ministry of Works on Ajilosun axis of Ikere Road in the state capital, allegedly vandalizing everything in sight.
Speaking about what led to the crisis under anonymity, one of the protesters, said: “The task force should realize that this is festive period, Christmas is just four days from now while new years is less than two weeks. And it is a time like this that selling, especially on the streets, booms. So, they ought to allow us to do our business now.
“Many of us had 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, “ he said.
Meanwhile, anti-riot policemen, who were dispatched to the scene of protest eventually ensured calm after tear-gassing the protesters to disperse them. They also arrested some of them.
Governor Ayodele Fayose also went to the scene of protest to appeal for calm and ensured there was peace.