31.2 C
October 4, 2023
download 2023 03 31T021800.711

Kwara market riot and option for peace/profits

In this piece, UMAR BAYO ABDULWAHAB reports how Kwara state goverment is weighing the option of maintaining peace and harmony/ profit-making following recuring clashes between hoodlums and traders at the popular Mandate Market Adewole Ilorin.

While basking in the euphoria of a peaceful governorship and state House of Assembly elections which was held across Kwara state, the peaceful atmosphere of the city of Ilorin was punctured on Saturday March 25 at the popular Mandate Market, Adewole Ilorin following fracas that erupted between some hoodlums, traders and police operatives. As it is with such fracas, the erstwhile peace of the town especially immediate environment of the market was tensed up.

How it started

Scores of people were on Saturday March 27 injured as law enforcement agents and suspected shop breakers clashed at Mandate Market, Adewole area of Ilorin town.

Blueprint investigation revealed that some shop owners in the market had complained to security agencies that some petty traders, guards, cleaners or load carriers who reside in the market always break into their shops at night at will.
It was also gathered that policemen from the Market Police Post had raided the market following complaints by some victims of burglary incidents in the market.
Some of the suspects arrested were said to be youths from the northern part of the country and their kinsmen insisted that they must be released, a situation which degenerated into a fracas.
In the wake of the agitation, pandemonium reportedly broke out in the market, prompting the police to fire carnisters of tear gas to disperse the mob who had allegedly gathered to attack policemen and shop owners who lodged complaints with the police.

Following the free for all, shop onwers quickly closed for business and ran for their dear lives .
Pebbles were hauled at each others while sticks and other dangerous weapons were reportedly used by hoodlums during the fracas.

Motorist plying the Mandate Market route from Al-Hikma- University road and those from Garin Alimi to Mandate quickly made detour to avoid being caught up in the incident.
In the aftermath of the melee, at least three persons were feared dead while several others sustained varying degree of injuries but the spokes person of the state police command, Okasanmi Ajayi said there was no casualties on both sides

Security intervention

A reinforcement of security agents including the police, operatives of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) were quickly despatched to the market to bring the situation under control.

The spokesman of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) in the state, Ayeni Olasunkanmi, had said the fracas was an aftermath of a raid earlier carried out by law enforcement officers in the market.

“The issue there at the market was an aftermath of a raid carried out by the Nigeria Police in the market due to complaints from the marketers that some shop breakers used to operate inside the market in the night.

“Some of the suspects arrested are Hausa boys and their people are insisting that the police should release them.
“The situation there is under control. Other sister agencies are there to ensure that the situation is calm,” he said.

Also, the spokesman of Kwara State Police Command, Okasanmi Ajayi, had said that the breach of public peace in the market was caused by what he termed, “A misunderstanding between two groups of tomatoe and pepper sellers in Mandate Market leading to a fracas.
“The Commissioner of Police Kwara state, CP Paul Odama has dispatched teams of policemen to the scene. Calm is gradually being restored. Full details of both immediate and remote cause(s) of the incident would be made public as soon as investigation is concluded. No casualties on the sides of the marketers or the police has been recorded as at now,” Ajayi said.

Kwara government shuts down market

Consequently, the Kwara state government ordered the closure of the market following fracas in the major trading centre.

It however said the market was to be re-opened on Monday March 27, from 8a.m., according to a statement by the commissioner for business, innovation and technology Mallam Ibrahim Akaje.
He said, “Even though the government has restored normalcy to the market after the initial tension and opportunist attacks by hoodlums on people’s properties, the government hereby directs temporary closure of the market for security reasons pending resolution of some issues that had triggered the disturbances,” the statement added.
Speaking further the statement noted that, “The government commends the prompt response of the security agencies to the distress calls. We warn against further trouble from any quarters. The market and activities of everyone involved therein are regulated by laws, which must be respected by all.

“The market will be reopened on Monday while efforts have begun to resolve all pending issues, ” it added.

Anxiety as traders count losses

And on Monday March 27, a date that the government had announced that it will re – opened the market, traders who hurriedly rushed out of the market in the wake of the pandimonium that broke out on Saturday the day of the crisis had besieged the market as early as 7 am to access their shops but were not allowed access by security agents.
Their inability to access the market led to anxiety amongsts traders particularly shop owners who lamented that they have recorded huge losses due to the continued closure of the market by the state government.
They lamented that the continued closure had denied them of the opportunity to make huge sales and profits during the ongoing ramadan fasting season.
Similarly, those from northern part of the country who transported perishable goods including tomatoes and pepper have complained bitterly that their goods would rot away.

Weighing the option of peace and profits

But the state commissioner for business, innovation and technology, Mallam Ibrahim Akaje who visited the market on Monday afternoon calmed the fray nerves even as he maintained that the market will remain shut till the needed peace is achieved .
Those with perishable goods in their lock up shops were however allowed to remove them and asked to leave the market premises immediately.
As government engaged the waring parties on a round table, it is hoped that this will be the last of such recuring crisis within the market which has grown to become a major trade centre in Ilorin.

Related posts

Etsu Nupe urges Nigerians to support security agencies

Kano govt, Assembly speak on alleged plan to sack 5 first class Emirs

Anthony Joshua takes out Robert Helenius in 7th round knockout

Food security: World Food Programme earmarks $2.5B to fight hunger in Nigeria

VIDEO: Osimhen returns to childhood base

‘It’s discriminatory’ – ASUU, ASUP Kick Against FG’s Student Loan Bill