No fewer than fewer than five persons were killed and several cars vandalized on Thursday in an inter-ethnic clash between Hausa and Yoruba traders at the popular Mile 2 area of Lagos.
Scores of people with varying degrees of injuries.
The clash lasted for hours before soldiers of the Nigerian Army and police personnel drawn from Rapid Response Squad (RRS) and Area H, restored peace to the area.
The fracas started off as a quarrel between Northerners and some Yoruba traders before it quickly escalated, claiming lives and properties, including the destruction of stalls and cars.
For hours, the rampaging factions armed with dangerous and offensive weapons like guns, broken bottles, cutlasses wrecked havoc on the market, destroying and burning down stalls.
THISDAY gathered that the clash was caused by an Hausa motorcyclist who hit a female trader and attempted to flee to safety despite pressure by passers-by to take her to the hospital.
Egged on by his fellow Northern motorcyclists, who had by then besieged the scene, the bike rider allegedly refused to offer help, insisting that the union of motorcyclist should do so.
The Okada rider was said to have reasoned that since the union was always quick to collect tolls from them, they should also take care of the hospital bills from accumulated tax.
Angered by the standoffish attitude of the riders, an argument ensued and later led to a fight, after the Yoruba traders left only to regroup and come back.
Having regrouped, they invaded the market, chanting war songs as they allegedly attacked the Hausa traders, who were mostly at the area where tomatoes, beans and pepper are sold.
In the process, several stalls were burnt, while three Hausa traders were said to have been killed.
As at press time, the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Fatai Owoseni; RRS Commander, ACP Olatunji Disu and other senior police officers were at the scene to stem the tide.
Already, the fracas spilled over to surroundings like Ketu, Owode, as it caused serious traffic snarl that ground commercial activities in the entire area and its surroundings to a halt
The army were deployed to the scene to assist the police to restore peace and as at press time, they had mopped up over 100 potential suspects.
Confirming the incident, the state Public Relations Officer, Dolapo Badmus, a Superintendent of Police, said, “there was a distress call that some groups of people are engaging in a free for all fight at the Agiliti area of Mile 12, Lagos.
“The police command mobilized men from the Rapid Response Squad, Mobile Unit and Area H Command to restore normalcy.
“The commissioner of police in charge of Lagos State, Fatai Owoseni led the operation to restore peace.
“Right now, the police is restoring normalcy to the area while the CP is engaging the market people and community leaders in a peace talk. Investigations are ongoing to unravel the root cause of the fracas.”
Meanwhile, a trailer fully-laden with goods crashed and fell on the ever busy Mobolaji Bank Anthony way, few meters from the Army 9 Brigade, Ikeja Cantonment.
To ease of traffic buildup, collaborative efforts by personnel from the Lagos State Traffic Management Agency (LASTMA), NEMA and the police is still ongoing as at press time.