Scores injured as Yoruba, Hausa traders clash in Lagos

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….Police arrest five

By Ayo Fadimu

Scores of people have been feared injured following a clash between Yoruba and Hausa traders in the Ilepo Oko-Odo Market in Abule-Egba area of Lagos. The fight which turned violent happened around 10 a.m.

According to the police, no life was lost but five suspects have been arrested in connection to the incident. The arrested suspects are Kabiru Mohammed, Kabiru Adamu, Bashiru Mohammed, Saliu Madu and Yusuf Amuda

The crisis caused traffic gridlock at Iyana Ipaja Abule Egba road and other link roads to the market. Vehicles heading to Lagos from Sango in Ogun state and those moving to Abule-Egba from Oshodi and other parts of the state were trapped for several hours while traders scampered for safety as the fierce battle raged on

There were different versions on  how the fight broke out. A version of the account said a fight broke out Saturday night, between some suspected cultists and Hausa scavengers around the dumpsite, during an argument over an attempt by one of the parties to molest the other. It reportedly continued today, as one of the parties was said to have overpowered the other, the previous day.

Another version of the account had it that some Hausas attempted to extort money from some Yoruba scavengers around the dumpsite, claiming that the area belongs to them ( Hausa), a claim that led to a verbal confrontation which degenerated into violence.

However, the police through  the Spokesman of Lagos State police command,  Bala Elkana, said the fight started between a Hausa scavenger and an ‘area boy.’

According to a statement by Elkana on Sunday, the area boy who carried some goods on his head was pushed by the scavenger leading to a fracas.

The fight however escalated and turned to an ethnic fight, leaving many goods destroyed and others looted.

“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 an exchange of blows. Friends of the two parties joined in solidarity fight and other miscreants took advantage of the moment to steal and loot.”

“What started as a fight between two miscreants almost snowballed into ethnic crises, if not for the timely intervention of the lolice,” Elkana said.

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