A policeman and two traders were yesterday feared dead in the crisis that erupted at Okokomaiko and Lagos Island areas of Lagos state, following the declaration of President Muhammadu Buhari as winner of Saturday’s election.
Another policeman, a Sergeant said to have been attacked by the hoodlums at Alaba Rago, was still undergoing treatment at time of this report.
Several other persons sustained varying degrees of injuries in the ensuing stampede.
Information at PiginLoaded’s disposal revealed that some Hausa youths took to the street at Okokomaiko, along the Badagry-Mile two expressway, chanting sai baba in celebration of President Muhammadu Buhari’s victory.
They marched from Okokoko to Cassidy, down to Alaba-Rago, pouring powder and water on themselves.
But the celebration took a violent dimension when they barricaded the road, preventing motorists’ access. Not done, they allegedly attacked commercial motorcyclists and traders at Alaba Rago.
Eye witnesses said another group of youths who kicked against President Buhari’s victory, rose up to the defence of those being attacked, leading to a free-for-all, during which several persons were injured.
A police team from Okokomaiko division which stormed the scene to quell the situation was attacked by the rampaging group. The group reportedly marched to the police station in an apparent attempt to invade it but the move was stopped by the Police.
The situation, which disrupted vehicular movements along the ever-busy expressway, also forced traders to lock up for the day.
A trader, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said:
“I was on my way to Agbara when I heard sporadic shootings at Alaba Rago, which forced driver of the bus I boarded to stop at the Lagos State University, in order not to be caught in the crossfire. A police officer was shot in the process but I don’t know if he died or survived.”
Another eyewitness, Anu, said Police reinforcement fired at the rampaging group, shooting two of them.
Igbo traders attacked
However, on the Lagos Island, social miscreants otherwise called area boys , attacked some Igbo traders over accusation that they did not vote for President Buhari in Saturday’s election.
The miscreants, who were armed with dangerous weapons such as cutlasses, broken bottles, woods and knives, struck at about 9.am at five streets: Oluwole, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Tinubu, Bamgbose and Alli streets, taking the traders unawares.
They ordered that shops belonging to the Igbos should remain locked, threatening to kill anyone who violated their order.
When news of the attack filtered round other markets in the state dominated by the Igbos, most of them hurriedly locked up for fear of being entangle in any likely spread of the attack.
When Vanguard visited both areas, policemen attached to the Rapid Response Squad with others from Area ‘E’ as well as the Military, were sighted on foot and vehicular patrol. But most of the shops still remained locked.
Igbo in Okota send SOS
In Ago, Okota area of Lagos State where the threat of attack on the Igbos began, non indigenes, particularly Igbos, have called on Governor Akinwunmi Ambode to beef up security in the area, with a view to protecting their lives and property following heightened fear of possible attack from hoodlums.
A resident, Mr. Silvester Okoro, who stated that Igbo residents in the area were still apprehensive despite police presence, urged security agents to conduct a 24-hour surveillance in the area.
“ People are still apprehensive, especially as the governorship election is fast approaching. Some say they will not go out to vote for fear of reprisal attack. We therefore, call on Governor Akinwunmi Ambode to come to our rescue now before the worst happens.”
Another resident, Mrs. Angela Johnson, who stressed the need for more presence of police to fortify the area, said:
“ We are using this opportunity to call on the police and other security agencies to fortify the area. This is the only way people can be reassured to come out and exercise their civic right”
LASG sues for calm
On its part, the Lagos State Government, through the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Kehinde Bamigbetan, urged Lagosians, particularly non-indigenes to remain calm, assuring that adequate security had been put in place to ensure protection of lives and property of all citizens.
Bode George cautions against harassing Igbo residents in Lagos
Meanwhile, Deputy National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Chief Bode George, has cautioned against harassment of Igbo residents in Lagos.
In a statement made available to Vanguard, George, said,
“this clearly ill-advised jungle justice on fellow Nigerians whose offense is basically the fact that they voted according to their conscience is capable of provoking a reprisal attack and a greater cataclysm that may graduate into a fury that no one would be able to control.”
Lagos State Police speaks
Contacted, spokesman for the Lagos State Police Command, CSP Chike Oti, said:
“Policemen on routine patrol who came to Alaba Rago to instruct the group to remove the barricade from the expressway to allow free flow of traffic, were attacked. One of the policemen who was severely injured was rushed to the hospital.
A contingent of policemen was mobilised to restore calm in the area. Some arrests have been made and the Commissioner of Police, CP Zubairu Muazu, has ordered that the arrested suspects be transferred to the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department,SCIID for further investigation and possible prosecution”.
Buhari supporters intimidate Abuja residents
Residents of Lugbe and road users along the busy Airport road, at the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, were not spared in the harassment either, as they were thrown into panic, after supporters of President Muhammadu Buhari, trooped out in large numbers to block the major high way in celebration of his victory.
The protesters who were armed with sticks and other dangerous weapons including brooms, barricaded the entire road, making it impossible for vehicles to pass through.
The protesters who went haywire forcing drivers and other occupants to say, ‘sai baba’ descended on anyone who refused to do their bidding.
Investigation revealed that the celebrants who also brandished a coffin with PDP inscriptions and colours, were sighted damaging vehicles trapped in the gridlock caused by the barricade, with policemen stationed at Lugbe and car wash bus stops looking the other way.
Earlier, the protesters had set bonfire on the road and taunting people perceived to be anti-APC, to say Sai Baba, threatening to kill them if they refused.
The situation forced some road users to make u-turn , in a bid to escape their wrath, while some parents were seen rushing to pick their children from schools within the area.
The situation was the same at the major city entrance of the FCT, City gate, where another set of celebrants also mounted road blocks, chanting sai baba at the foot of the Iron broom erected, by the City Gate.
Also at Area 1, road users were forced to say Sai Baba before they were allowed to continue their journey. They equally blocked the link road between Area 2 and Area 10 causing a major gridlock on the road.
Igbo traders threatened in Ibadan, compel to swear an oath to vote for APC
In Ibadan, the capital city of Oyo State, Igbo traders in Iwo were deprived from carrying out their daily commercial activities. Several spots in the market where most of the traders businesses were empty.
A female trader who spoke with Vanguard on the condition of anonymity, lamented that they were being subjected to hardship, noting that they earned their living and took care of their family from whatever proceeds they made daily.
She disclosed that they were being told that they would only be allowed to continue doing business on the condition that they swore to an oath secretly that they would vote for candidates of APC in the governorship and House of Assembly elections slated for March 9, 2019.
“We are appealing to the state Governor Abiola Ajimobi, as well as the State Commissioner of Police to come to our aid because we are peace-loving people.
“The condition they gave for our shops to be reopened was that we would swear an oath to vote for APC candidates in the governorship election. Some people have already done that out of fear. Governor Ajimobi, please come to our rescue,” she pleaded.
Efforts to reach the State’s Police Command spokesman on the development proved abortive as at press time.
“I am appealing to President Buhari to call the APC leader to order. Lagos is a mini Nigeria. It is the most accommodating and friendly entity in the Nigerian space.”
We welcome everyone with vivid embrace and with sincerity of purpose.
‘’We are the Nigerian melting pot, encouraging traders and various merchants to bring their goods for sale. We do not discriminate.’’