Hausa traders in Abeokuta, the Ogun state capital on Thursday, took to the street to protest the alleged killing of two of their kinsmen by operatives of the Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS) at the Hausa market in Olomoore, along Abeokuta-Sango Otta expressway.
The protesters, who blocked the expressway with bonfires made from disused tires, also prevented vehicular movements from connecting the Lafenwa market from Olomoore Junction where they violently smashed windscreens of cars, taxis, buses and other motorists who dare cross their path during the protest that lasted over five hours.
Commercial activities were also paralysed for the early hours of yesterday at the Lafenwa and Olomoore markets, with other traders also scampering for safety so as not to be caught in the crisis, while SARS operatives who allegedly ignited the crisis also hurriedly disappeared from the scene.
Trouble was said to have started when the SARS operatives allegedly invaded and opened fire at some fleeing suspected cultists and “yahoo-yahoo” boys who were said to have ran into the Hausa market in Olomoore.
Our Correspondent gathered that stray bullets fired by the SARS operatives hit two young traders of Hausa ethnic tribes and one was said to have died immediately due to the head injuries he sustained from the gunshot, while the other one was hit in the leg
This ugly incident was said to have infuriated other Hausa traders who argued that it was wrong for the police officers from SARS unit to have opened fire within the market.
Speaking with journalists over the matter, the state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Abimbola Oyeyemi said the victims are not dead but receiving treatments at the State Hospital in Ijaiye, Abeokuta.
He emphasised that the police officers involved in the incident were operatives of the Anti-Cultism and not SARS.
He explained that some hoodlums had swept on the police officers who were responding to distress call in the area and prevented them from going away the some suspects arrested.
He said, “I want to correct an impression because I have been online that it is as a result of police chasing some called yahoo boys and that was why they fired into the market. That is not true and that is not the position of the case. They are not running after any yahoo boys”.
“We are yet to ascertain what actually caused the initial fracas, but an investigation is going to reveal that”.
“What actually happened today was that our men at Lafenwa division received information early in the morning by members of the public that there are some fracas at Olomore area. As a result of that, the DPO Lafenwa division mobilise some of his team and they went straight to the place. One of the teams that followed him to the place is anti-cultist team.
“On getting there, they were able to calm the situation down and they arrested four suspects among those who were causing troubles in that place.
“As the police were about to move with the suspects, some hoodlums swept on them that they are not going to take those people away. In a bid to scare those people away, one of the anti-cultist men fired into the air and unfortunately, a straight bullet hit two men. The men have been rushed to the hospital and they are responding to treatment”.
Oyeyemi further explained that the police officer, who allegedly fired the shot at the Olomoore market has been arrested and currently undergoing interrogation at the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department (SCIID), stressing that the state Commissioner of Police, Kenneth Ebrimso has ordered a full scale investigation into the case.