Adamawa's economy grinds to a halt as Igbo depart in droves over Boko Haram attacks

An escalating insecurity that has seen several armed attacks in Adamawa state has forced businesses to shut down, hitting hard on the northeastern state’s socio-economy and sending many of the mainly non-indigene business operators away from the state.

Since the attacks broke out in December 2011, more than 30 people have been killed in drive-by shootings, and many of the victims are from the southeastern part of the country, who form the bulk of the state’s business community.

The Igbo Cultural Association said the attacks “appeared targeted at the Igbo race,” an allegation that has been disclaimed by the Adamawa state government which has assured residents of the state of increased security.

In response to a recent attack that occurred penultimate Monday behind the Power Holding Company of Nigeria PHCN Jimeta office on Taraba Street, Governor Murtala Nyako announced a ban on motorcycle operations within the state capital. He re- assured the Igbo community of their safety in the state.

President General of Igbo Cultural Association, Ofor Eze Nwachukwu, told PREMIUM TIMES the assurances have hardly given sufficient guarantees to the bulk of Igbo business community, many who he confirmed had fled the state.

Socio-economic activities in the state have slowed down tremendously since the Monday killings in which five people are said to have died. Many shops and businesses have refused to open for services as many fear the authorities were not “doing enough to offer them protection.”

PREMIUM TIMES has of recent sighted an unusually high number of luxury buses departing Yola, the state capital for Nigeria’s south, many of the passengers aboard the vehicles, women and children.

The Monday attacks by yet to be identified gunmen – although security sources told PREMIUM TIMES the attackers have been arrested – saw gunmen opening fire on the gathering of sympathizers killing five of them on the spot and wounding 10 others.

“It was like a commando film of a sort; in my entire life I have never seen anything close to this”, recounted Okoye Amselem, who himself sustained bruises from the stampede. Policemen who were around during the attack scampered for safety, he said.

“Yesterday around 7:30 to 8:00pm we heard gunshot three times, we immediately took cover, after a while we ran to the scene and saw our brother Simon lying down in the pool of his blood, dead; and we took him to the morgue at the Specialists hospital”.

“This morning our people assembled to discuss what happened and how to approach the security challenge bedeviling us, suddenly unknown persons came into the midst of the crowd and opened fire indiscriminately and killed five people instantly, injuring many, I can’t give the number now”, a Mr. Anslem, looking terrified, recalled.

The purpose of the gathering by Mr. Simon’s kith and kin, it was learnt, was to make arrangement on how to give him a befitting burial, before the unsuspecting gunmen swooped on the gathering, shooting sporadically on the mourners.

However Mr. Ofor Eze berated the Adamawa state government for not showing enough concern saying since the recent attack occurred, no top government functionary administration had visited to commiserate with the victims, nor invited them to assuage their feelings.

 “As I am talking to you only security operatives have cared to talk to us, and so far we are left to cater for the wounded and also bearing mortuary expenses at the ICA level,” he said.

 Similar attacks occurred last December in Mubi, another town in Adamawa state, where sympathizers and relatives of some slain traders had gathered to finalize the funeral arrangement for some deceased members felled in a previous attack.

While they were at the planning, armed men returned and fired at the gathering killing additional 14 persons.

Since then, the state has witnessed recurring incidences that are gradually bringing the state business economy to a halt.

 


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