Some Igbo traders in Bayelsa State have protested the killings of prominent Igbo businessmen in Yenagoa, the state capital, by unidentified gunmen suspected to be armed robbers and hired assassins.
The traders, joined by other Igbo indigenes in the state capital on Monday staged a peaceful protest and marched to the state police command headquarters to express their apprehension on the wave of killings.
They were particularly angry over the gruesome murder of Martins Agodo by gunmen at his Yenagoa residence in the early hours of Monday.
The gunmen were said to have broken into the house of Agodo, who owns a popular boutique, Omars Fashion Plaza, in the OMPADEC area of Yenagoa-Mbiama Road.
It was learnt that the gunmen, who invaded the Amarata residence of Agodo on Punch Road, demanded money from their victim.
The deceased was said to have told his assailants that there was no cash at home because shops in the capital city were shut down for about four days in honour of the late former Governor, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, who was buried on Saturday.
After ransacking his house, the gunmen were said to have shot and killed Agodo in cold blood in the presence of his wife.
The traders, led by the President, Ohaneze Youth Council, Chief Chinedu Arthur-Ugwa, also lamented that Agodo was killed a few days after gunmen suspected to be assassins murdered another successful Igbo businessman, Ugochukwu, aka Ugo Best.
It was further learnt that Ugochukwu was killed around the Azikoro village on his way home after business of that day.
One of the protesters, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said, “Ugochukwu was close to his house in company with his wife when gunmen, operating in commercial tricycles, blocked his car. They dragged him out of the car and forced him into their tricycle.
“His corpse was discovered the next day at the Azikoro Cemetery with his hands and legs tied up. He was a successful businessman who built a big house in Azikoro village. We are scared of these series of killings.”
The traders also related how another unnamed businessman was gruesomely murdered at the Tombia area, saying that others were being harassed and injured by arm-bearing youths.
The traders assembled at the front of Omars boutique, forced shops to close down and marched to the state command of the police.
They were received by the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Peter Ogunyawo, and other senior police officers.
Presenting their grievances, Arthur-Ugwa told the commissioner that the Igbo were no longer safe in Bayelsa.
He said, “We are being killed by gunmen. One was killed at Azikoro, the other one was killed at Tombia and today another one, who just got married, was killed in Amarata.
“We are not happy and we have closed down our businesses to come and tell you that we are not safe. If you cannot guarantee our safety, we will relocate our businesses and families out of the state.”
In his response, Ogunyawo told the grieving traders that crimes existed everywhere and were not targeted at the Igbos.
He said death is one debt everybody must pay and that nobody knows how it will be paid.
He said the command was doing everything possible to check the crime wave in the state and asked the traders to furnish the police with information to enable them to become more effective.
“We can’t be effective if you don’t partner us. Once you have suspicion of any crime, let us know. You don’t need to run to anywhere because crimes exist everywhere,” the police commissioner stated.