On Sunday morning around 10am, a clash between Hausa and Yoruba traders at the Ilepo Market located in the Oke Odo area of Lagos State, reportedly led to the death of two persons.
Report has it that trouble started when a Hausa porter identified as Alabo (aka Bolar boy) mistakenly hit a Yoruba man with his tray.
The incident led to disagreement between the two which eventually led to a fight.
Hausa and Yoruba hoodlums eventually escalated everything as they began to attack each others.
According to report (as seen on Punch), the Hausa group went back to mobilize their people and then stormed the market with stones, bottles and arrows, scattered everywhere, looted people’s goods and injured people.
The Yoruba also assembled themselves also to attack the Hausa group.
The two groups took over the Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway, attacking each other.
Police operatives from the Oke Odo Division, operatives of the Rapid Response Squad, Lagos State Task Force on Environment and Sanitation Enforcement Unit, eventually stormed the area and restored peace.
Security personnel took over the area with Armoured Personnel Carriers and other police vehicles.
An eyewitness and official of the market who spoke to The Punch said (as seen on Punch);
“A Yoruba boy and one Alabo (Hausa porter) ran into each other and the Alabo fell down. They fought and the dispute was resolved.
“Some of the Bolar boys suddenly rushed into the market and tried to take the Yoruba boy to their Bolar to deal with him. The boy, however, escaped. They immediately ran into the market with arrows and knives. At that point, we reported to the police.”
Another eyewitness told the newspaper that the situation became worse following the intervention by the police.
“The police team shot in the air, but a stray bullet hit one of the Hausa boys. They became angry and that was how the fight escalated. The Hausa came out in large numbers and many people were injured,” he said.
Also a Hausa eyewitness who spoke to Punch accused the police of deliberately shooting at them, saying that their colleagues were shot at and killed by the police during the clash.
“Three policemen followed some area boys to the Bolar. The area boys had petrol bottle inside their pockets. We allowed them to come into the Bolar, because we saw that they were with the police. But the policemen shot at the Hausa, while the Yoruba set our houses on fire,” their witness told Punch.
A trader in the market however revealed that all efforts to settle the disagreement were rejected by the Hausa.
“I tried to mediate, but they did not listen to me. I also called Baba Moria (market leader), but they did not listen to him as well. Later, we saw a large group of boys from the Bolar attacking the market,” he stated.
The police in Lagos State confirmed the incident but however said that nobody was killed in the clash.
According to a statement by DSP Bala Elkana, the Lagos Police Public Relations Officer, the police restored peace in the area, and 5 suspects were also arrested.
Read the statement by the police spokesperson below;
“On August 18, 2019, around 10am, one Alhaji Adekunle Habib reported at the Oke Odo Police Station that there was a misunderstanding between one Hausa scavenger and a Yoruba area boy.
“The area boy was carrying some goods on his head and was pushed by the Hausa boy in error and the goods fell. Arguments ensued between the two parties, which led to the exchange of blows. Friends of the two joined in solidarity and other miscreants took advantage of the moment to steal and loot.
“They blocked the Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway. What started as a fight between two miscreants almost snowballed into ethnic crises, if not for the timely intervention of the police. The situation was brought under control and the blockade cleared.”
Princess Ada is a Senior Content Creator and Head of Field Reporters at Naija Buzz News. She is a graduate of The Federal Polytechnic Nasarawa, Nasarawa State, where she studied Accounting before joining the media industry. She’s well experienced in Nigeria’s online media space. Ada previously worked as the Head of Business Operations at 1Push.Ng. She is a proud Igbo from Enugu State, South-East Nigeria.