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An atmosphere of unease, on Sunday, August 18, 2019, gripped the traders of Ilepo Market in the Oke Odo area of Lagos State, as an ethnic clash between Yoruba and Hausa traders took many by surprise in the market.

The clash ensued between the two ethnic groups, when an Hausa porter, popularly known as Bolar boy, mistakenly hit a Yoruba man with the tray he was using to convey goods for traders. The disagreement was said to have degenerated into a fight between the duo.

Nairametrics learnt that just when the duo were exchanging words, hoodlums from both ethnic groups took over the fight, which turned to a free-for-all.

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It was gathered that policemen at the Oke Odo Division deployed in the area were reported to have shot in the air to disperse the hoodlums and stray bullets hit one of the Bolar boys.   

Ile-Epo Market.

Angered by the development, the Hausas mobilised and stormed the Ilepo Market with stones, bottles and arrows, looting goods and injuring people. The Yoruba were said to have assembled at one side of the road, as the two groups blocked the Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway and attacked one another.

The threat: The clash however poses serious threat to consumers as traders lamented their losses in millions. Following the clash on Sunday, broken bottles, tomatoes, pepper, oil and tubers of yam were on Monday morning seen littering the expressway.

In an interview with one Bello Ololade, it was learnt that majority of the Ile-Epo residents purchase their perishable goods in the market, but as a result of the clash, not everyone will want to risk going to the market for anything.

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Ololade said, “I am not the only that is scared of going to the market now, people who live around here would not want to do that too because of their safety. Some of my neighbours sustained injuries yesterday because they were in the market when the clash happened.”

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Like Ololade’s statement, Bisi Oyekan said she doesn’t have any reason to go to the market at least for now. “What happened here today is a clear indication that it is not safe anymore to come to the market. I would rather buy whatever I want to buy in the street, than come to the market where my life is threatened because I’m a Yoruba,” she added.  

Famuyiwa Damilare is a trained journalist. He holds a Higher National Diploma (HND) in Mass Communication at the prestigious Nigerian Institute of Journalism (NIJ). Damilare is an innovative and transformational leader with broad-based expertise in journalism and media practice at large. He has explored his proven ability in the areas of reporting, curating and generating contents, creatively establishing social media engagements, and mobile editing of videos. It is safe to say he’s a multimedia journalist.


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