Following Saturday’s confrontations in the major trading centre, the Kwara State Government has ordered the immediate closure of Mandate Market in Ilorin, the state capital, North-Central Nigeria.
The State Commissioner for Business, Innovation, and Technology, Mallam Ibrahim Akaje, indicated in Ilorin on Saturday that the market would reopen on Monday.
“The government directs the temporary closure of the market for security reasons pending resolution of some issues that caused the disruptions,” Akaje said.
He continued: “After the initial tension and opportunist attacks by hoodlums on people’s properties, the government has restored normalcy to the market.
“The government applauds security agencies for responding promptly to distress calls from shop owners.
“We caution against greater turmoil from any source.
“The market and the activities of everyone involved in it are governed by laws that must be followed by all.”
Scores of people were injured in Saturday’s clashes at the market between law officers and suspected shoplifters.
Some shop owners had complained to security agencies that minor traders, guards, cleaners, or load carriers, who lived in the market, allegedly broke into their establishments at night.
As a result, police stormed the market and captured some individuals whose kinsmen insisted on their release, resulting in the altercation between them and the operatives.
Police had to use tear gas canisters to disperse the mob that had assembled to attack the officers and shop owners who had filed the complaints.
Following the free-for-all, shop owners locked their doors and departed.
Drivers on the route where the market is located had to take detours to avoid being caught up in the chaos.
To put the situation under control, a reinforcement of security personnel, including police officers and members of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), were dispatched to the market.
The spokesperson of the NSCDC in Kwara, Mr. Ayeni Olasunkanmi, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the fight was the result of a police search.
In his words: “It was the result of a police raid in the market in response to shop owners’ complaints that some people broke into their stores at night on a regular basis.
“Kinsmen of the arrested suspects insisted that the police release those who had been arrested.”
“The situation is under control there.
“Other sister agencies are present to keep the situation quiet.”
The police spokesperson in Kwara, Superintendent of Police Okasanmi Ajayi, had told NAN that the breach of public order in the market was triggered by “a misunderstanding between two groups of tomato and pepper sellers.”
“So far, no casualties have been reported in the fracas,” he stated.
-All Rights Reserved-
Permission to use any material, including text, still photograph, audio and video from this site is granted subject to permission being formally sought and, if granted, appropriate credit must duly be given to The News Room as the source.