A clash between Yoruba and Hausa traders at the popular Oke-Odo Market along the Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway on Sunday created pandemonium in the market and its environ, even as it caused traffic lockdown in the ever busy road.
LEADERSHIP gathered that the clash that left many people injured and caused traffic congestion in Iyana-Ipaja, Abule Egba areas erupted Saturday night when some cultists Yoruba boys known as ‘Awawa Boys’ who are notorious for terrorizing people in that axis of Lagos came up with allegations that the Hausas were stock piling arms at Oke-Odo/Ile-Epo market to unleash mayhem in Lagos.
They were said to have claimed that the arms were pileup in the huts where the Hausa scavengers normally sleep near the refuse dump site.
The scavengers who refuted their claims were said to have prevented them from invading their huts and they resorted to free all brawl.
In the ensuing confrontation, the Hausa scavenger called for reinforcement from their Hausa brothers in the market and from there, the clash escalated and snowballed to the market.
While the crisis lasted vehicles heading to Lagos from Sango in Ogun State and those moving to Abule-Egba from Oshodi and other parts of Lagos have been trapped on Sunday morning.
The traders started burning wares and make-shift tents.
Confirming the incident, the Lagos State Command Police Public Relations Officer, Bala Elkana, a Deputy Superintendent of Police told journalists that there was crisis in the market, saying the police moved swiftly to quell the crisis.
According to Elkana, “The crisis started as a fight between Hausa scavengers and some cultists known as Awawa boys that almost snowballed into ethnic crisis.
“Our timely intervention brought the situation under control and stopped the crisis from escalating. Normalcy has since been restored. Patrols are ongoing in the affected areas. No casualty figure available yet.
He said over five suspects have been arrested over the Clash between scavengers and Area Boy at Oke Odo area of the state.
According to him, the incident happened on August 18,2019 at about 10.00am when one Alhaji Adekunle Habib of Ilepo market reported at Oke Ode Police Station that there was a misunderstanding between one Hausa scavenger and an Area Boy from Yoruba ethnic group.
He said that, the area boy was carrying some goods on his head and was pushed by the Hausa boy in error and the goods fell down.
‘’ Arguments ensued between the two parties which led to exchange of blows. Friends of the two parties joined in solidarity fight and other miscreants took advantage of the moment to steal and loot. They blocked Lagos/Abeokuta express way.
“The Police teams from Oke Odo Division were the initial responders. The Command has sent reinforcements from the Operations Department, Rapid Response Squads, Taskforce, Tactical Units and Police Mobile Force. Divisions within the Area Command equally send reinforcements and the situation was brought under control,’’ Elkana said.
He added that,’’ Traffic cleared. No dead recorded but four persons sustained various degrees of injuries and are receiving medical attention.’’
The suspects were identified namely as Kabiru Mohammed, Kabiru Adamu, Bashiru Mohammed, Saliu Madu and Yusuf Amuda were arrested in connection with the breach of peace.
He said the suspects will be charged to court as soon as investigation is concluded.
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