A video circulating on social media purportedly shows the moment shops were razed in Imo State, Southeast Nigeria. In the video posted on TikTok, it was said in Hausa that the properties being burnt belonged to Northerners in the community.
Claim: Several shops owned by Northerners were razed in a community in Imo state
The CDD War Room investigated the viral claim and here is what we gathered.
We traced the source of the viral video to a TikTok user who uploaded the video on Saturday, July 29, 2023, without any caption.
To further confirm the veracity of the statement made in the video, we searched and found a special report published by Daily Trust on Monday, July 31. The report was titled, “1 Killed, Several Shops Burnt As Imo Govt Demolishes Hausa Settlements.”
According to the report, several shops and homes in some Hausa communities in Owerri West Local Government Area of Imo state, were razed during an alleged operation by the state government officials.
Sources reportedly disclosed that officials of the Owerri Capital Development Authority (OCDA) and Environmental Transformation Agency (ENTRCO), alongside policemen stormed and set ablaze shops and properties in Avu Junction, Hausa market, Nekede No 1 market and Arugu market, as part of the government’s efforts to remove alleged shanties and illegal structures.
“Several houses and shops belonging to northerners were burnt down, most of us are currently taking refuge in the bush and our Juma’at Mosque was equally demolished by the taskforce and the police,” one of the sources was quoted to have said.
However, the Imo State Commissioner of Police, Mohammed Barde, reportedly said at a news conference on Sunday, July 30, 2023, that it was an inferno that gutted one of the markets, denying the alleged report that the market was set ablaze.
Part of the Commissioner’s statement read, “I invite you here this afternoon to clear some misleading reports making the rounds on social media, alleging that hoodlums attacked and burnt the popular Hausa Market Avu which is not true.
“For the purpose of clarity, I wish to inform you that the incident that happened at the market was a fire outbreak that led to loss of properties. No life was lost in the inferno and it’s under investigation and the outcome of our investigation will be made known to the public.
“I am pleased to inform you that, the Executive Governor of Imo State, His Excellency, Hope Uzodinma, has been informed and directed arrangements be made for him to meet with those affected.”
Verdict: All We Know