The Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, has ordered the immediate closure of the Mile 12 Market and restriction of movement on four streets in the area, including Oniyanri, Maidan, Agiliti 1 and Agiliti 2.
The governor’s action follows three days of violence between Hausa and Yoruba traders, which have reportedly left three people dead.
Addressing Government House Correspondents at the Lagos House, Alausa, the governor said the decision to shut the market and restrict movement on the streets was to aid security agencies restore calm in the area.
He said police and security operatives have been deployed to the area to quell the pandemonium, assuring residents that peace will be restored in the area.
“Today, I have just been informed that some miscreants and criminal elements have exploited that dispute to cause a breakdown of law and order within the area. These types of clashes do occur from time to time in a multi-ethnic city like Lagos and the government has responded appropriately.
“The public is hereby assured that we will not shy away from our responsibilities to protect lives and property and we will deal decisively with those criminal elements who fan the embers of ethnic strife.”
It was gathered that the spark for the clash was ignited on Tuesday after a Hausa commercial bike rider knocked down a woman.
The bike rider was told to take the woman to the hospital, but the rider and his colleagues refused.
They insisted that the motorbike association, which collects tolls from them, should take care of the woman.
There was heated argument, which led to a fight.
The fighting continued all through Wednesday till Thursday when some thugs, believed to be of Yoruba origin, invaded the market and started attacking the Hausas. They burnt seven cars and killed three Hausa traders, insuranceadvicenigeria.com has learnt.
However, the governor said he had received reports from the Commissioner of Police and other security agencies who are on ground at the scene, saying the situation has been substantially put under control.
He also used the opportunity to reiterate that Lagos State will continue to be home to every Nigerian, irrespective of their tribe or ethic affiliation, urging residents to continue to be law abiding.
“Let me assure Lagosians that the state is home to every tribe and ethnic group and nobody should give this disturbance any ethnic coloration whatsoever. Every law abiding citizen should go about their normal businesses,” Ambode said.
In spite of the heavy presence of security personnel, some youths, in their hundreds, were seen around the Mile 12 Market and the Agiliti Bridge, heavily armed with guns, cutlasses and other dangerous weapons, report says.
Those who spoke on the incident said they were there to prevent the advancing Hausa youths, who they alleged have already torched two residential buildings and a primary school in the area.