Sowore Slams Army Closure of Abuja Plaza, Demands End to Repression


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Pro-democracy activist and presidential candidate of the African Action Congress, Omoyele Sowore, has condemned the Nigerian Army over the closure of Banex Plaza in the Federal Capital Territory following attacks on some soldiers last weekend.

The Army shut down the plaza following an attack on some soldiers last weekend, which they claimed was carried out by a group of hoodlums.

Sowore, has, however, argued that shutting down a civilian space that employs thousands of people over a dispute between soldiers and civilians is excessive and unjustified.

In a statement on Wednesday, Sowore said, “The Nigerian Army should stop military men who are not on active duties from putting on uniforms.”

He alleged that many of these military men have been caught red-handed engaging in heinous crimes.

“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,” he said.

“Recently, the Nigerian Army levelled Okuama 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 and now they are shutting down markets at will, it is unacceptable.

“These acts of repression must stop immediately!”

On Saturday, the FCT police command intervened in a violent clash between traders and soldiers at Banex Plaza, deploying officers to restore order.

A widely circulated video showed a large group of civilians overpowering some soldiers during an intense brawl.

The police said they successfully contained the situation, ending the chaotic scene.

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