The Nnewi Traders in Anambra state were in jubilation mood yesterday over the release of their members who were mistakenly arrested in connection with the Independent People of Biafra (IPOB) clash with Nigeria Police that led to the killing of one inspector.
The Traders converged at the Agboedo motor spare parts market to offer praises to God in appreciation for the release of their members.
Recall that 33 traders mistaken as members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), were arrested during the recent clash by the group and the police in the town.
The traders arrested from different markets in the area and subsequently detained after being paraded by the police, were reportedly released last Saturday after spending eight days in police custody.
Speaking during the event, Chairman of Agboedo Motor Spare Parts Dealers Association (AMSPDA), Chief Gabriel Chibueze, said the gathering was essentially to appreciate God for the unconditional release of their members.
He said the traders were arrested from the eight major markets in the industrial city, expressing worry over the eight days they spent in police custody, regardless of their innocency.
He said the detained members could have spent longer time in the hands of the police if not for the relentless efforts of members of his executive and other relevant stakeholders.
He said, “Ever since their detention, the entire executive have not rest on its oars in fighting for their release.
“We wrote letters to all authorities concerned, including the IGP, the commissioner for Trade and commerce, our representatives in Abuja, among others.
“We also had to shut the entire markets in the town for three consecutive days in solidarity with our detained members.”
Chibueze however refuted reports alleging that one of the traders died in the police custody, saying all of them were released hale and hearty.
Also speaking, Vice President, Amalgamated Markets Traders Association (AMATA), Gozie Akudolu, disclosed that no money was expended over their release, but regretted that some went ahead to engage the services of lawyers contrary to his instructions.
“I’m happy to announce to you that we didn’t pay any dime for their release because I instructed that no lawyer should be engaged in the process.
“Those who defied the instructions and paid should find a way of going after their money,” he added.
He appreciated those who contributed towards ensuring the release of the traders, praying God to reward them abundantly.
“I’m overwhelmed with joy today. Special thanks go to the IGP, leader of police delegates from Abuja, the State governor and commissioner for Trade and commerce, state CP, AC Nnewi, and a host of others.”
One of the released traders, Charles Maduka expressed joy over their release, describing the police custody as hell in disguise.
“There is nothing like freedom. Our release was made easier because our hands were clean and due to the fact that we have addresses,” he said.