TIMELY intervention by security agencies at Sasa market in Ibadan, Oyo State capital yesterday prevented a simmering fracas from degenerating into a full-blown crisis.
Despite the prompt response of the security agencies including soldiers, policemen, State security service and Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps, no fewer than 15 people were injured while the melee lasted. Though, the police did not confirm it, Saturday Vanguard gathered that one person was feared killed when the feuding factions used dangerous weapons on each other.
The market where perishable goods like tomatoes and pepper from the northern parts of the country are offloaded is densely populated by Hausa.
In order to ensure the crisis was nipped in the bud, the Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr. Shina Olukolu and Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of Operations, Mr. Kehinde Longe; a member of Oyo State House of Assembly, Deacon Olatunde Kehinde, representing Akinyele Constituency II; and Special Adviser to Governor Seyi Makinde on Special Duties, Miss Ololade Ajibola were at the scene of the fracas.
It was gathered, a social miscreant wanted to pass excreta in front of a shop used by scrap and resistance by the owners of the shop led to a confrontation which soon developed into a free for all fight. Having been overpowered, the miscreant went away and came back later with his partners. Though it was reported that the crisis was between two major ethnic groups, the CP said it was not so.
The state security outfit, Operation Burst, led by the patrol commander, I.P Usalor arrived the spot to quell the crisis. The Chairman of Hausa Community in Sasa, Alhaji Yisa Alausa, described the melee as unnecessary noting that the minor crisis could have been settled amicably if the leadership of the market was notified.
Deacon Kehinde, representing Akinyele Constituency II in the parliament, said, “The information reaching me is that the troublemakers are the ones picking scrap irons about this province. It is very disheartening and sad because I learnt that a life has been lost. I urge the Yoruba and Hausa in Sasa to live in peace.”
While confirming the fracas but not the number of injured persons, the CP said, “In the early hours of Friday, August 2, 2019, the Division Police Officer (DPO), Ojoo, reported a mild conflict allegedly between social miscreants outside the Sasa Market who subsequently penetrated the Sasa Market with a view to causing chaos”. “Consequently, the police moved in swiftly to restore order and normalcy. But in the process, different genres of the incident was circulated by uninformed misguided and mischief makers that there was an ongoing clash between the Hausa and Yoruba in Sasa Market, Ojoo, Ibadan.”
According to him, it was a social miscreant who was earlier prevented from messing up their immediate environment two days earlier that triggered the crisis. They had the intention of looting shops and steal valuables or cash from the markets’ men and women. “In the process, nine persons were said to have been injured, while six suspects were arrested and are being interrogated for possible prosecution. In the interim, police are on top of the situation.”
He cautioned those “who are bent on causing chaos or disorder in the state to have a rethink before the long arms of the law catches up with them. The police will not, under any circumstance, shirk their constitutional responsibilities of protection of lives and property, nor allow any individual or group under whatever guise to disturb the peace of the state. Hence, there is no such situation or scenario as a clash between the Yoruba and Hausa at the Sasa Market”, he said.