Thursday, March 3, 2016, was bloody at the popular Mile 12 market, Lagos. The ethnic clash between some Yoruba hoodlums and northern miscreants has been a fairly regular occurrence which has claimed many lives. No fewer than 15 persons were reported to have been killed and about 100 others injured, including school children, traders and residents. Also, property worth millions of naira were also destroyed in the mayhem.
The clash brewed on Tuesday, March 1, 2016, when a northern commercial motorcyclist (okada) was riding against traffic and allegedly knocked down a pregnant woman. The women reportedly sustained some injuries and the commercial driver refused to take her to the hospital, insisting that the motor bike association that collects tolls from them at the market should take care of the woman. This was how the clash began among the commercial bike riders and the settlers. It was later reported to ENCOMIUM Weekly that the clash turned bloody on Thursday, March 3, 2016. All efforts by the security operatives to quench the clash proved abortive.
The Lagos state government ordered the market to be shut down. Also curfew was imposed in the Mile 12 area of the state.
ENCOMIUM Weekly visited the Mile 12 market on Thursday, March 10, 2016, as traders groan as adverse economic effect hits their sales. The Mile 12 market is popular for its perishable foodstuffs from the northern parts of the country. Most traders lamented that their goods were no longer consumable ever since the closure of the market and pleaded with the Lagos state government to allow them continue their activities with the promise that such a violent act will not repeat itself.
The clash started on Thursday, March 3, 2016, which is known to be a day scheduled for general market environmental sanitation. So, I wasn’t there. I was surprised when I heard the news. I don’t think something of such should continue in this market. Now that the market has been shut down by government, it’s affecting everyone of us seriously because sales have really dropped. I hardly make my usual daily sales because we have been restricted from the main market. We only bring our goods by the road side to sell.
I will suggest that the government settles this amicably among the market leaders and force them to sign an undertaking that such will not repeat itself.
I heard the clash started at the Agiliti area of Mile 12 market, though I was not there. I had to run for my life. Most of our goods there were destroyed. Even the ones we are selling now are getting spoiled already. Sales have not been encouraging. Every Nigerian should help us beg the government that such will not repeat itself. The yam that I am selling here is what I use to sustain my family. I am a widow and I have grown up children who are graduates without jobs.
We get our daily bread from here. I used to sell my yam in the main market. Now that it has been shut down, I have to stay by the road side to do my business.
The usual place where we used to carry out our daily activities is now a no-go area. The main market has been shut down by government and we can’t stay at home. That’s why we brought our goods here by the road side. Agiliti vicinity of this market was destroyed, as you can see everywhere is scanty. It’s really affecting us. My advice for the government is that security should be beefed up in this market because this is the only market where we have such a bloody clash. Even as we are here selling by the road side, we are not safe. Government should help us so that this killing of innocent souls can stop.
ABIODUN ADEKOYA, NURTW member
I will say the cause of the clash was baseless. Such a thing shouldn’t have been experienced in a kind of market like this. In this market, we have all ethnic groups both men and women as traders. We are all one. I can’t understand why we can’t live as one. The clash has paralyzed economic activities. I am a driver in this market. I have not been getting any job from traders since the incident.
It’s unbearable! I have heard a lot of stories about the clash. I brought my goods all the way from north to sell here because this is where I have buyers for the goods (tomatoes and pepper). The last goods I brought here got damaged because of the crisis. The government should pity us. We have a lot of people benefiting from the market. How do we survive now? The Lagos state government should just consider us and help re-open the market very soon.
- FEMI SOEWU