The Baale of Shasha community in Akinyele Local Government Area of Oyo State, Chief Amusa Akinade Ajani, has urged both the federal and state governments to take proactive step in restoring peace in the community before the situation generates further.
The Baale spoke just as the Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde; his Ondo State counterpart, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu; and the Oyo State Commissioner of Police, Ngozi Onadeko, visited the Shasha market in Ibadan on Sunday.
Baale Ajani, who recalled that the Shasha market was built by Ford Foundation and Rocky Feller Foundation from the United States of America many years ago, described the recent clash that led to the burning of the market as unfortunate.
He said, “For me, the arson that trailed the death of a cobbler in the market was misdirected and uncalled for. It is sad that the group that was responsible for the death of the man were still those going about torching houses and shops.
“It all started with the argument that ensued between a pregnant woman and an Hausa man. A cobbler who came around to pacify them was struck with an object. He died the next day and things went wild. Government should act fast.
“Those who are causing trouble are now mocking us. They said if Shasha is no longer habitable they would relocate to nearby community. We want an end to violence in Shasha. I have told our people to maintain peace. Nobody should engage in violence but. we want the Hausas to sheathe the sword.
“But, come to think of it, why has urgent and proactive action not been taken? Who is the government afraid of? They are beating about the bush. The people are now saying that they would relocate from Shasha to Iroko. Should we be doing this to ourselves as a people?” the Baale said.
The Seriki Shasha was inaccessible at the time of The Street Journal’s visit. Some Hausa men in the area alleged that the host community failed to relate with them amicably. They described as untrue the allegation that they burnt several properties and destroyed goods within the market during the clash.
During their visit to the scene, both governors Makinde and Akeredolu lamented the ugly incident stressing the need for peaceful cohabitation among the various groups in the land. They assured the people of the community of government’s intervention, saying that progress could only be achieved in an atmosphere of peace.
One of the victims of the clash, Alhaji Musiliudeen Moliki, said, “It had never been this bad. I manage the public toilet in the market. Now the facility has been set ablaze. Property worth several millions of naira has been damaged. For me, a peace meeting should be called. We should all come to round table and look for a way forward. Security in Nigeria is porous.
A food seller in the market, Osuolale Monsurat, said, “My shop was burnt yesterday. My wares that perished during the attack was about N250,000. Since I got to this market eight years ago, I never experienced a thing like this in my life. Now our shops were burnt while we were looking helplessly. We implore the government to come to our aid as our means of livelihood have perished.”
Both the Hausa and Yoruba communities were seen in clusters in their sections with the police and the military standing midway to ensure that there was no further violence.
Activities were at low ebb in the Shasha community at the time of filing this report with human and vehicular movements put under strict check. The adjoining Ojoo and Moniya communities in Akinyele Local Government Area of the state were also bereft of the usual hustle and bustle that they are characterized with.
At about 1:25pm, ahead of the projected visit by Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State to the area, the Commissioner of Police in the state, Mrs Ngozi Onadeko; Mr Fatai Owoseni, Special Adviser to Governor Seyi Makinde; Assistant Commissioners of Police, the Area Commander and some other senior police officers were on ground to appraise the situation and meet briefly with the traders and residents of the area.