By Ugonne Uzoma
Owerri – Three people were suspected to have died in Owerri on Saturday when some youths protested against the demolition of the main market in the capital, called Eke Onunwa Market, by the Imo Government.
The Police Public Relations Officer in Imo, Mr Andrew Enwerem, however, said he could not confirm the deaths.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) learnt that a protester was allegedly killed by a stray bullet fired by security operatives deployed to maintain order in the area.
NAN learnt that the death of the protester escalated the situation and subsequently two others died.
The state government had issued an evacuation order to the traders and advised them to relocate to a new site to make way for development at the market site.
Efforts of the government to relocate the market from the city centre to decongest the area have been resisted by Owerri indigenes who regard the market as their ancestral heritage.
The people had instituted a court case against the government over the matter.
However, the market was demolished in the night in spite of the resistance of the natives.
Following the protest, the state capital was heavily guarded by the military and police to forestall further breakdown of law and order.