Normalcy appears to have returned to the Ladipo International Market barely 24 hours after some military men allegedly shot three people dead at the market. The alleged shooting occurred during a clash with union members and traders at the Aguiyi Ironsi International Trade Centre area of the market.
One of the traders in Ladipo Market, simply known as Michael, disclosed this in an interview with Nairametrics on Wednesday.
According to him, the market is open, as the union meets with the soldiers, adding that a businessman, identified only as Felix and two other yet-to-be-identified traders were shot dead by military officers after a member of the union had requested for N200 gate pass from a military man, who was not on his uniform at the time of the incident.
“The market is open and was not shut down because the union has been meeting the soldiers for peace to reign. What happened was that a military officer and his orderly visited the market on Tuesday to change the spare part he bought from a trader.
On their way out, some union members, who were at the entrance to the market, reportedly demanded payment of N200 from them for gate pass. The request infuriated the military men and an argument ensued between the union members and the force men.
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But because he refused to pay, it turned into a fight and the boys beat the military man and his orderly. So, he went back to his base, returned with three other boys and all hell broke loose as they started shooting.”
Air force denies shooting
However, the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has denied that stray bullets from its operatives allegedly killed three persons at Ladipo Market, Lagos, on Tuesday afternoon.
According to the Air Force, the claim that three people were killed during the crisis is false.
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NAF’s Director of Information and Public Relations (DOPRI), Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet explained that the service’s personnel attached to the Operation (OPs) MESA were in the market in response to a distress call.
He said, “A call was put across by traders on a fight going on between a soldier of the Nigerian Army (NA) and a civilian debtor. Upon receipt of the call, the team moved to the market but was attacked by angry traders who pelted stones at them.
Firstly, NAF personnel did not kill anyone. Moreover, it was one person that died not three. The information we have at the moment is that the NAF operatives who are attached to OPs MESA received a distress call that a soldier was having an issue with a debtor.
So, they moved in to restore peace but as soon as some of the traders saw them, they started attacking them. They threw stones at them and destroyed the windscreen of the patrol vehicle.
They attacked a soldier and seized his pistol. So, the soldier who was having issues with a debtor trader managed to retrieve the seized pistol and fired a shot in order to free himself and the operatives from the crowd. It was that gunshot that killed one of the traders.
Two of our operatives sustained injuries. The information we have at the moment is that our men acted professionally and were only in the market to ensure peace giving the economic importance of the market to Lagos state and our country as a whole.
Despite this account, we are going to investigate the incident to know what really happened. We will get to the root of the matter and if any of our operatives is found to have acted otherwise, they would be sanctioned accordingly.”
The spokesman for Nigerian Army’s 81 Division, Major Olaniyi Osoba said the matter was being investigated, assuring the army would unravel what actually happened.