The pandemonium which escalated, Thursday, at the Mile 12 market began its ebb on Tuesday when a Hausa commercial bike rider – aka Okada rider – knocked down a Yoruba woman.
When bystanders instructed the man to take the woman to the hospital for treatment he brazenly objected, protesting, that ‘the commercial bike riders association should be the one to take the woman to the hospital and pay the bills’.
His stubbornness caused the situation to escalate into a fight between his fellow Hausa bike riders who were defending him and the Yoruba woman’s supporters who were clamoring for her to be taken to the hospital for treatment. The fight which began on Tuesday rolled into Wednesday.
Like the Tuesday ember hadn’t be stoked enough, another Hausa commercial bike allegedly rider broke traffic rules, Thursday, and in the process hit a Yoruba bike rider. This was the straw that broke the camel’s back as Yoruba traders and hoodlums joined forces and began attacking any Hausa trader and commercial bike riders they chanced upon. The Hausas retaliated leading to the crisis which reportedly claimed at least three lives.
Regarding the loss of lives in the Mile 12 fracas, the Lagos Commissioner of Police, Fatai Owoseni stated: ‘I was at the scene of the MILE 12 incident personally, I did not witness anybody killed’. He might not have witnessed anyone get killed but that doesn’t mean no one was killed as there are image evidence which proves him wrong.
In an atttempt to bring calm to the area, Lagos State Governor Akinwumi Ambode issued a curfew. He made a public statement at the Senate House in Ikeja:
“In order to further restore calm in the community, I have ordered that the Mile 12 market be temporarily shut and urge traders and other stakeholders to eschew violence and be law abiding. Furthermore, I have ordered temporary restriction of movement in four streets-Oniyanrin, Maidan, Agiliti 1 and Agiliti 2 streets.”
The governor admitted that there had been a dispute between members of Mile 12 community in kosofe Local Government Area. He added that the police and other security officials had been called in to subside the chaotic situation.
“After their intervention, the dispute appeared to have subsided. Today, I have just been informed that some hoodlums and criminal elements have exploited that dispute to cause a breakdown of law and order in the community. This type of clash does occur from time to time in a multi-ethnic city like Lagos. And the government has always responded appropriately.
The public is thereby assured that we will not shy away from our responsibilities to protect life and property in the state. we will deal decisively with those criminal elements involved in the clash. I have been assured by the commissioner of police and other security agencies at the scene that the situation has been brought under control.
“I want to assure residents of Lagos State that the state is home to every ethnic group. No one should give this clash any ethnic colouration. Every law abiding citizen should go about their businesses.”
Over fifty people have been arrested as the market has been closed till further notice. There is a steady presence of Army officials around Mile 12 environ to effect the Governor’s curfew as well as ensure no other fracas ensues.