By Sunday Ehigiator
Communal clash which reportedly broke out Sunday, between Hausa and Yoruba traders at Oke-Odo market in Ile-Epo area of Abule Egba, Lagos state, have left no fewer than four persons injured and six others currently in police custody.
The crisis which started at about 2pm on Sunday, saw hoodlums looting traders’ wares at Oke Odo Market and burning make-shift structures used by scavengers.
It was gathered that trouble started after a Hausa scavenger mistakenly hit a Yoruba orange seller on the road side with his wheelbarrow, causing the oranges to fall on the ground.
Angered by this, the orange seller allegedly punched the scavenger and he slumped.
This was what angered other Hausa scavengers and northerners who rushed to the scene, seized the orange seller and took him into one of the makeshift structures by the dumpsite.
In no time, area boys were said to have mobilised in their number to the tent to rescue the orange seller which led to a clash between the two sides.
Another eyewitness account, claimed that the scavenger hit a young boy rolling a tyre and refused to apologise for the mistake which caused a fight between them.
The violence thereafter like a wild fire, extended to Agbado and Pleasure areas, and was said to have caused alot of traffic as traders, residents fled their shops and homes to avoid falling victims of the clash.
Consequently, THISDAY gathered that hoodlums began to loot shops of the fleeing traders and pick pockets of unsuspecting on-lookers
It was also gathered that the violence aggravated as a result of bottled up animosity between the Yoruba and Hausa in the market borne out of the tussle over ownership of the market. It was said to be the result of tension over demands for fee by the Hausa community from traders.
Our sources, who is also a resident of the area revealed that, “The Hausas are always trying to take over the market place. They want other traders including Yoruba to be paying them. I think that is the genesis of the problem. They just used whatever issue that happened today as a means to vent their anger.”
When contacted, the Lagos state, police spokesman Bala Elkana, a Deputy Superintendent (DSP) said six suspects were arrested, adding that timely intervention of the Rapid Response Squad (RRS) and other police units stopped the violence from escalating.
Elkana also said no life was lost, adding that four persons sustained injuries.
According to him, “Normalcy has since been restored. Patrols are ongoing in the affected areas. Four persons sustained injuries. No life was lost. Six suspects arrested. We are investigating the cause of the fight,” he said.