Two persons were yesterday feared killed and 15 others including a man, John Vincent, injured after some hoodlums clashed at the Ladipo Market in Mushin, Lagos.
The crisis, which began around 8am over illegal ticketing, snowballed into an ethnic fight between Igbo traders and Yoruba residents.
Residents of Odushina, Olapeju, Oloje, Akinwunmi streets and environs fled as vehicles were vandalised.
During a visit to the area, tensions were high as residents threatened showdown. They claimed that one Kazeem Owoseni, 28, and another unnamed man were butchered to death. Others, including Aguda and Alabi were lying unconscious at the hospital.
A young man, Babalola, who claimed to be a Navy Captain, lost his Mitsubishi Outlander car.
Babalola, who said he brought the vehicle to his mechanic on Monday, gave a 24-hour ultimatum for its replacement or a fresh violence will erupt.
The residents who took to the streets to protest the destruction of their homes, called on the government to relocate the market.
It was gathered that trouble started after the hoodlums scrambled over collection of ticket money from a car that parked in the area, which left one person injured.
In retaliation, one Aguleri, leader of the Ladipo Executive Council’s Taskforce, who claimed to be acting under the orders of the union’s President allegedly, led the hoodlums that wreaked havoc.
Another account of the fracas indicated that it started at Olapeju Street after a sand seller identified as Iyiola Okunade alias Baba Kekere stopped Aguleri’s boys from blocking his wares.
According to the aged man, Aguleri aka Miracle, who said he was acting under the instruction of the Union President (Segun), pushed him and he retired into his home.
“The union is biased and they are the problem here. The Igbos are hiding under the union to wreak havoc.
“I usually come out in the morning around 6am to pack sand from the gutter with my wheelbarrow because that’s what I sell in front of my house. So, I had used my barrow to block my frontage so that no car will park there and cover my wares.
“Suddenly, one man came and said I must leave there. He pushed me and people came to settle it. So, I went into my room and then I started hearing shouts,” he said.
Another victim, Bishop Julius Oridota, pastor in charge of Christian Evangelical Assembly lamented that the hoodlums burnt his vehicle and attempted to set his church ablaze.
Accusing the police of injustice, he claimed that after showing them the arsonist and they was arrested, the said Aguleri bribed the police and they were released.
“They initially arrested the guy who set the car ablaze but when Aguleri bribed them, they left him,” he said.
An inconsolable man who claimed to be Owoseni’s brother threatened to avenge his death, accusing policemen from Olosan station of corruption.
“Kazeem heard noise that there was a fight. He came out to know what was happening and they butchered him to death. They killed my brother. Aguleri and his people have killed my brother.
“Policemen from Olosan gave them cover. Our police are not helping us. I saw three police people. Aguda came there to find out what was happening and they cut his head. Same thing happened to Alabi. Alabi is in a comma,” he said.
Chimezie Felix, a trader, who came to buy spare parts from Ladipo market, was stabbed at the back while carrying his goods to his shop. He was rushed to Mount Sinai hospital at Olanibi Street.
Mushin Local Government Executive Secretary Jide Bello, who visited the scene, urged the people to maintain peace, assuring them that investigation will be conducted and those found guilty punished.
“I am not aware of casualties at the moment but you can see that a lot of destruction happened here. I am only suing for peace now. We are going to investigate the cause of the problem and find lasting solution. I do not believe in tribalism. We are all one Nigerians and so, we will pursue peace,” he said.
At the time of filing this report, policemen from the Rapid Response Squad (RRS) and the Area D Command were on ground to avoid a recurrence.
Police spokesperson, Dolapo Badmos, a Superintendent (SP) said no death was recorded, adding that four persons sustained injuries.
She said: “No single death recorded, four men injured and rushed to the hospital. The fracas ensued after a fight between two people over buying of foods. The command’s operatives from Area D, RRS moved in and normalcy has been restored. The Commissioner of Police has ordered full scale investigation into the matter.”