By Demola Akinyemi, Ilorin
Following a free for all fight between some marketers in Mandate Market in Ilorin and officers of the Nigeria Police Force, one person has reportedly died while four others sustained severe injuries.
Kwara state government has consequently shut down the market as a result of the incident.
Though the Spokesman of Kwara state police command did not confirm the death, Sunday Vanguard reliably gathered from one of the officers of the market association that the deceased identified as Dan Fulani died during the fracas while four others sustained severe injuries.
Sunday Vanguard gathered that the clash was caused by the arrest of three members of the association over some shops that were burgled Friday night by suspected hoodlums in the market and shop items worth several millions of naira were carted away.
Some people in the market were said not to be happy over the arrest of the suspects and therefore called for their release by the police officers who resisted them in return.
Sunday Vanguard gathered that the resistance of the police to release the suspects caused the aggrieved supporters to start destroying the market with goods worth millions of naira destroyed and pandemonium ensued.
Reinforcement of security agents including the police, and operatives of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), were quickly dispatched to the market to bring the situation under control.
The spokesman of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) in the state, Ayeni Olasunkanmi, told journalists that the fracas was an aftermath of a raid earlier carried out by law enforcement officers in the market.
“The issue there at the market was an aftermath of a raid carried out by the Nigeria Police in the market due to complaints from the marketers that some shop breakers used to operate inside the market in the night.
“Some of the suspects arrested are Hausas and their people are insisting that the police should release them.
“The situation there is under control. Other sister agencies are there to ensure that the situation is calm”, he said.
Also, the Spokesman of Kwara State Police Command, Okasanmi Ajayi, said that the breach of public peace in the market was caused by “a misunderstanding between two groups of tomatoe and pepper sellers in Mandate Market leading to a fracas.
“The Commissioner of Police Kwara state, CP Paul Odama has dispatched teams of policemen to the scene. Calm is gradually being restored. Full details of both immediate and remote cause(s) of the incident would be made public as soon as investigation is concluded. No casualties on the sides of the marketers or the police has been recorded as at now,” Ajayi said.
Meanwhile, the Kwara State Government has shut the mandate market Ilorin following the crisis that rocked the market.
The market will be re-opened on Monday from 8a.m., according to a statement by the Honourable Commissioner for Business, Innovation and Technology Mallam Ibrahim Akaje.
“Even though the government has restored normalcy to the market after the initial tension and opportunist attacks by hoodlums on people’s properties, the government hereby directs temporary closure of the market for security reasons pending resolution of some issues that had triggered the disturbances,” the statement added.
“The government commends the prompt response of the security agencies to the distress calls. We warn against further trouble from any quarters. The market and activities of everyone involved therein are regulated by laws, which must be respected by all.
“The market will be reopened on Monday while efforts have begun to resolve all pending issues.”
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