By Omeiza Ajayi
Abuja—The Dei-Dei International Market has been closed indefinitely following Wednesday’s clash between commercial motorcyclists of northern extraction and southern traders, which claimed four lives.
The minister of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Malam Muhammad Bello, who inspected the scene, Wednesday night, alongside the Commissioner of Police, FCT Command, Sunday Babaji; Director, Department of State Services and heads of other sister agencies, confirmed that he saw four bodies.
Trouble started in the market when a commercial motorcyclist reportedly rammed his motorcycle into an articulated vehicle, a development which led to his female passenger, a trader, falling off and being crushed by the vehicle.
Bello directed the community and the market leaders to fish out the hoodlums responsible for the ensuing crisis.
He said: “The community and market leaders must fish out hoodlums and bad eggs among them. Unfortunately, this time around hoodlums carried arms and they shot innocent people. I saw four corpses. This is very sad and totally, unequivocally unacceptable in Abuja.
“We have agreed with security agencies that full-scale investigations will be done and the communities have to be part and parcel of the solution or else there will be no peace. In the interim, the timber market and the surrounding markets, including all the activities that have clustered the road and made it impassable will all stop until the technical team reviews everything, and then we will take the next decision.
“I am appealing to other communities within the FCT that there is no tribal or religious misunderstanding because all the leaders of various communities have lived here in peace for many years. This is simply the matter of criminals and hoodlums taking the laws into their hands.”
On his part, the vice-chairman of the Timber Shed Market Dei-Dei, Ifeanyi Chibata, told the minister and his team that 45 to 50 shops were burnt with 25 vehicles set ablaze, totalling over one billion naira.
The secretary, Tomato and Onion Sellers Association, Dei-Dei, Dahiru Mani, disclosed that four persons were killed during the clash in the market. They both appealed to the Minister of FCT to make provisions for a police division with adequate personnel.