Abuja Dei Dei riot: FCT minister says crisis not motivated by religion, ethnicity

The FCT Minister, Muhammad Musa Bello has said that the violence that engulfed the Dei Dei market in Abuja on Wednesday was not motivated by ethnicity or religion but rather, the action of criminal elements who started the violence to carry out criminal intentions.

According to a press release by the FCTA, the minister confirmed this when he visited the market in the evening to ascertain for himself the cause and the extent of the violence which claimed four lives and resulted in the razing of shops and vehicles within the market.

The minister also said that a full-scale investigation will be carried out by the security organization with the full collaboration of the affected communities.

What the minister is saying

The minister said his presence at the scene was prompted as a result of the different stories flying around social media about the crisis being an inter-ethnic crisis.

  • He said, “We came here specifically because on the social media, all kinds of stories are being circulated saying that there is an inter-ethnic crisis in Abuja with one tribe fighting against the other. I have come here and met the leadership of the market. I have met with leadership of the community and met the political leadership as represented by the chairman and vice chairman of Abuja municipal area council. And what they really came out clearly to say was that this was an accident that occurred when a lady on a commercial motorcycle fell off and a vehicle ran over her and unfortunately, she passed on.
  • “As a result of this incident, tension rose and hoodlum took over and like they do everywhere in the world, their target is economic asset and they burnt down a substantial part of the timber market and other markets around here and they burnt many vehicles.
  • “There was no communal clash here and I appeal to all residents of Abuja to continue to live here as we have always lived in peace as the centre of unity.
  • The minister also stated that a full-scale investigation will be carried out by the security organization with the full collaboration of the affected communities. He said, “This is simply a matter of criminal and hoodlum taking the law into their hands and I implore every community in the FCT to ensure that communities leaders identify miscreant, drug pushers, drug dens and the drinking joints where crime and criminality take place. The police and the military cannot be everywhere at the same time.”

The minister also pledged that the police post in the market will be upgraded and the FCT administration will provide the needed support while the police commissioner equally pledged more personnel.

He also ordered the immediate ban on all trading activities along the roadsides and directed that all transactions be carried out within the shops.

What you should know

  • On Wednesday, the Dei Dei market in Abuja was razed following a violence that erupted after a woman fell from a commercial motorcycle (Okada) and was crushed to death by a truck.
  • According to allegations on social media, the unrest was triggered by some group of commercial motorcyclists who retaliated by setting the affected motorcycle ablaze.