A violent ethnic clash at Oke-Odo Market along the Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway yesterday led to wanton destruction of good and property. Thankfully, no life was lost in the incident.
Operatives of the Lagos State police command have however arrested five principal suspects of the clash that sent shivers down the spines of residents, commuters and motorists around the axis. Vehicles heading to Lagos from Sango in Ogun State and those moving to Abule-Egba from Oshodi and other parts of Lagos were trapped for many hours following the bloody clash.
According to a resident, trouble started on Saturday night when traders at the market clashed over a yet to be known issue. The situation then escalated yesterday when traders and some hoodlums started burning goods and makeshift tents.
The police yesterday confirmed the clash, which led to a traffic lockdown in the area while lots of goods were misplaced and wrecked as people scrambled for safety.
According to the spokesman of the command, Bala Elkana, the fight was between scavengers and hoodlums, popularly called ‘Area Boys’ at Oke-Odo.
“On August 18, 2019 at about 10:00 a.m., 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. 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 expressway. What started as a fight between two miscreants almost snowballed into ethnic crises, but for the timely intervention of the police.
“Police teams from Oke Odo Division were the initial responders. The command sent reinforcements from the Operations Department, Rapid Response Squad, Taskforce, Tactical Units and Police Mobile Force. Divisions within the Area Command equally send reinforcements and the situation was brought under control and traffic cleared.
“No death was recorded but four persons sustained various degrees of injuries and are receiving medical attention. Five suspects namely: Kabiru Mohammed, Kabiru Adamu, Bashiru Mohammed, Saliu Madu and Yusuf Amuda were arrested in connection with the breach of peace. Normalcy has been restored and police patrols are ongoing in the affected areas. The suspects would be charged to court,” Elkana said.