The Ohaneze Ndigbo Worldwide, a prominent Igbo sociocultural group, has raised concerns regarding the proliferation of propaganda and fake news following the announcement of the demolition of distressed buildings in the Alaba International Market, located in the Ojo Local Government of Lagos State. The market is predominantly occupied by Igbo traders.
Upon the initiation of the demolition process by the Lagos State Government, several publications started circulating on social media, alleging that the decision was an attempt to victimize Igbo citizens residing in Lagos.
In response to these publications, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, the President General of Ohaneze Ndigbo Worldwide, issued a statement on Sunday, urging Igbo individuals in Lagos to remain calm and cautioning against the dissemination of propaganda and fake news during this period.
Iwuanyanwu revealed that his investigations indicated that these publications and statements were fabricated with the intention of stirring tensions and creating a rift between the Igbo community and their hosts in Lagos.
Based on reliable information available to him, Iwuanyanwu clarified that the Lagos State Government’s directive was unrelated to plazas and shops within the market or along the market road.
The sentiments expressed by Iwuanyanwu were conveyed through a statement by the group’s National Publicity Secretary, Dr. Alex Ogbonnia, in Enugu on Sunday. The statement emphasized that the circulating fake news regarding the victimization of Igbo citizens in Lagos was unfounded.
The statement quoted Hon. Comrade Chinedu Ukatu, a member of the Lagos State Market Advisory Council and President of Ndigbo-Amaka Progressive Market Association, who confirmed that the Lagos State Environment and Development Authority had issued warnings concerning obstructions in waterways.
Ukatu clarified that the actions taken at Alaba and the subsequent visit by state government officials were solely focused on addressing the issue of blockages impeding the free flow of water through designated waterways.
Ukatu further emphasized that the directive did not pertain to plazas and shops within the market or along the market road.
In light of the situation, Ukatu urged everyone to disregard the circulating statements and video messages on the internet, asserting that such propaganda was unnecessary for the Igbo community at this time.
Another Alaba resident, Chief Ikechukwu Okolo, affirmed that certain structures had been constructed on waterways, obstructing drainage systems and causing flooding, particularly during the rainy season.
According to Okolo, the owners of the affected structures had been notified for months, but whenever the execution order was about to be enforced, corrupt government officials would compromise the process, perpetuating the issue of flooding.
Chief Evaristus Ozonweke, an Ohaneze chieftain residing in Lagos, also confirmed the aforementioned position.
Expressing concern over the persistent problems in Lagos, Iwuanyanwu urged the Lagos State Environment and Development Authority to exercise prudence and act in the best interest of the community while performing their duties.