The 10 Ibadan traders who were killed by Boko Haram sect members in Monguno, Borno State, last Friday night lost N22million cash to their attackers, it was announced yesterday.
All was gloomy on Tuesday when the bodies of the Bodija market apprentice beans sellers, who went to buy their goods in Borno – the epicentre of the Boko Haram insurgency – were brought back home.
The secretary of the Bodija Market Food Sellers Association, Mr Sola Faribido, told reporters that the money belonged to seven of the 20 traders who contributed cash for the purchase of beans, which they would have brought back for sale in Ibadan.
He said the traders put the money in a bank in Ibadan, withdrew it in Borno State and headed for the village where they were to buy the beans.
Faribido regretted that they were attacked, the money taken away from them before they were killed. There were two survivors of the attack.
He was convinced that the murdered traders were followed from the bank after a possible tip off from banker informants.
Faribido said many of the traders, who lost money are now in debt, having obtained bank and cooperative loans.
Recalling what happened, the market leader said: “We heard that our traders were murdered by Boko Haram on Friday. It happened around 3pm on Friday. We were calling their numbers without reply, until two of the survivors showed up to confirm that the others have been killed.
“It happened initially on May 5. We thought the security measure taken would assist us by not sending majority of the traders to the North but see what happened again.”
“The effect of this is that prices would go up. The price is now N500. We are traders and we are deeply involved. Those in that line would have to diversify.”
The mood in the market yesterday was still sober.
One of the beans merchants, whose three apprentices were murdered, Alhaji Musa Owolabi, aka 77 Elewa, said his losses were unquantifiable.
Owolabi said: “What can I say now? My boys (Nurudeen Lawal, Ninalowo Saheed and Femi Oyetunde) were among those murdered by the Boko Haram. Whenever we need to buy goods for sale, some of us would gather money and ask a few people to buy for us. That was what happened last week.
“We learnt that on Friday, shortly after the Jumat, our colleagues who travelled were intercepted and killed. The cash on them was taken away. Now, their family members are mourning. We don’t know how to console them. It is not the money that matters now.”
Opeyemi Adegboyega, a sister to Seye Adegboyega, one of the slain traders, told our reporter on the telephone that she planned an appointment with her brother on some family issues before he was murdered.
She said her 35-year-old brother was buried in his house at Amuloko in Ibadan, which he moved into about two years ago.
He said his fashion designer wife, Anuoluwapo, has been moved to the family house in Olorunsogo.
The traders association spokesman, Mr Akeem Emiola, dismissed any possibility of a protest, saying: “It is not in our plan to carry out any protest. The governor has not offended us. Security at the market is very tight now and we have appealed to our members to maintain the peace. It is our responsibility to work and that of the government is to provide security, but they have failed us.”
According to him, during the May 5 atteck when five of the traders were killed in the North, the executive of the union banned the traders from going to the North. He said the ban was lifted when the Hausa started bringing in their goods to Ibadan.
He said:” “We then lifted the ban because they were making more money while our people were suffering. That was their third trip after we lifted the ban and see what has happened to our people now.”
It was gathered yesterday that the two survivors, (Taoreed Azeez and Ibrahim Ademola), have been advised to stay indoors by family and friends, who believe they may still be wanted by the Boko Haram.
Senator Femi Lanlehin flayed the killings yesterday as O’Odua National Coalition (ONAC), a league of many Yoruba self-determination groups, called for an end to such wanton killings.
In a statement by ONAC’s Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Mr Popoola Ajayi, the group urged Southwest governors to set up vigilance groups to stem the tide of violent crimes and terrorism.
ONAC said its contacts in the North revealed that the “Bodija 10″were murdered in the most gruesome manner.
“This murder must not go unpunished. Boko Haram is targeting religious and ethnic groups. There is a campaign of terror going on … in the North.”
The group said the killings underline the urgent need to address the “garrison structure” of Nigeria and guarantee self-determination for the various ethnic groups.
Lanlehin (Oyo South), in a statement by his media aide, Olawale Sadare,said: “Every right thinking person would mince no word in condemning this dastardly act of wanton killings of innocent, hard working and active patriots. More so, about four of their colleagues had lost their lives in a similar circumstance a few weeks back while pursuing their lawful business activities.
“The pertinent questions here are: why the gruesome killing of fellow human beings without any provocation? Who takes the blame for such wanton and unjustifiable killings? When will Nigerians be free to live in areas of choice, or move round the country as free citizens without the fear of being attacked at will?”
Lanlehin sympathyised with the families of the traders, the entire Bodija market community as well as Ibadan people, who have been subjected to untold trauma and agony in view of the development. He called for compensation for the families of the deceased.