A bloody crisis broke out on Wednesday in Ajegunle, also known as AJ City, over the alleged burning of the Akere Spare Parts Market by suspected arsonists.
The market was allegedly set on fire by masked hoodlums who sneaked into the market under the cover of darkness, and set it on fire at about 3am, which destroyed over 50 shops and property worth millions of naira.
Following the fire, a clash broke out between the hoodlums and traders in the market in which many people sustained injuries as the traders believed that their shops were deliberately set on fire ahead of the Saturday’s governorship and House of Assembly elections.
Recall that some people sent out threat messages on social media, asking non-indigenes to stay away from the polls.
Although some witnesses said one person died in the clash, others said the number of deaths could be as high as four.
A trader in the market, Emeka Tobechukwu, said, “Our security man was burnt beyond recognition. I lost over N50m worth of goods. I sell Volkswagen engine parts.”
Another witness, Jide Anonaku, said the hoodlums attempted to burn down the market last Thursday but were overpowered by the local security.
Jide, who claimed he had been in the market for over 15 years, said, “Though majority of the traders are Easterners, we also have traders from other tribes. Why taking politics to pitch one against another?”
City & Crime reports that there is currently tension in the area with policemen patrolling to prevent a reprisal.
It was also gathered that traders at the popular Boundary Market have increased their vigilance to ward off any attack.
Spokesman of the Lagos State Police Command, Benjamin Hundeyin, in a statement, said the command had commenced investigation into the fire.
He called for restraint in giving any form of extraneous colouration to the incident, while assuring that the outcome of the investigation would be made public.