By David Olalekan.
Tragedy struck at Oke-Odo market along the Lagos/Abeokuta expressway today, following a violent clash between Hausa and Yoruba traders.
The Vanguard reports that the conflict according to eyewitness accounts, started with verbal confrontation which degenerated into violence when some Hausas attempted to extort money from some Yoruba scavengers around a dumpsite, laying claim to the area.
A trader was quoted as saying: “These people (Hausa) have taken over the whole place, claiming it is theirs. They have dominated the dumpsite, depriving other people space there. They had a confrontation with one Yoruba boy yesterday (Saturday) and before you knew it, all of them came out to fight with the person. His people (Yoruba boys) came to his rescue. Also yesterday, there was a fight at the foodstuff section. But I can not say if that was what caused today’s fight.”
Another trader said: “I came out this morning (yesterday) to sell, when some Awawa boys came from nowhere and started destroying our wares. Over 20 baskets of tomatoes were destroyed. While everyone was running, I remained in my shop, to know what was happening. They came with cutlasses and sticks, attacking anyone at sight.
“They said some of our people beat one of theirs. But how is that my business, when the person in question is neither my brother nor sales boy”.
Although, the arrival of security operatives quelled the situation, many persons had already been severely injured, shops burnt, and goods worth millions of naira destroyed.