By Demola Atobaba, Ado-Ekiti
Ado-Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital, boiled over again on Wednesday as transport workers and Hausa traders engaged in a free-for-all at Erekesan Market, Oja Oba.
The crisis took place a day after the resumption of a new Commissioner of Police, Etop John James, in the state.
The violence later spread from Erekesan Market – Old Garage – Mugbagba axis to Atikankan area, a convergent point for many Hausa traders in the state.
According to the state Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Alberto Adeyemi, four persons were wounded in the crisis and are currently receiving treatment at an undisclosed hospital in the state.
As of the time of filling this report, the popular business areas of Ado-Ekiti such as Ajilosun, Okeyinmi, Okesha and Irona among others have become a no-go-area to both vehicles and pedestrians, while banks operating in the city hurriedly shut down.
One eyewitness, however, said three persons were feared dead as the fracas snowballed into a full scale war and almost turned into ethnic war.
But the butchers, mainly Yoruba fought on the side of the Hausa against the transport workers whom they accused of undue harassment and unprovoked attacks.
Mr. Sunday Adigun, a cameraman with the Core TV, narrowly escaped being killed as he received beating while his camera was smashed for trying to cover the fight by the hoodlums.
The hoodlums suspected to be fighting for the transport workers brandished dangerous weapons including guns, bottles, charms, clubs, cutlasses and knives.
Also, a freelance journalist, Sunkanmi Oso, was quizzed at gun point by one of the hoodlums to explain his mission in the crisis zone.
Goods and properties worth several millions of Naira were lost as hoodlums took over the market and set many shops ablaze after looting them while no fewer than five vehicles belonging to the drivers were vandalised.
Mostly affected persons were bureau de change operators, butchers and traders. Another witness said trouble had started on Tuesday night when a bag belonging to wife of a chieftain of road transport workers was snatched by unknown persons along the ever-busy Ijigbo-old garage area of the city.
It was learnt that the victim was raped by the assailants after dispossessing her of her belongings, a development that irked the drivers. An eyewitness said the victim’s husband reported the matter to his members after efforts to know the identities of the perpetrators proved futile.
While addressing both sides of the residents at old garage and Atikankan, the new CP expressed regrets over the incidence and vowed to restore normalcy in no time.
He said he expected people of the state to give him the honour of information before going to the streets, knowing full well that he just resumed on Tuesday in Ado-Ekiti on the orders of the IGP, Mr. Solomon Arase, over the spate of kidnapping and other heinous crimes in the state.
Normalcy has, however, returned to Ado-Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital after the clash this morning, between Hausa and some area boys at Atikankan area of the town.
The Ewi of Ado Ekiti, Oba Rufus Adeyemo Adejugbe, Aladesanmi III, met with the warring groups and specifically pacified the Hausas. Security men are now fully at strategic places in the town to maintain peace.