At least five people were injured and property worth millions of naira was destroyed in the course of the conflict that escalated between Yoruba and Hausa traders at Bodija Market in Ibadan, Oyo State, on Friday, August 16, 2013.
According to the eyewitnesses, other traders fled the market, leaving their stores open, with food stuffs littering the entire market. At the entrance of the market, a commercial bicycle was set ablaze while the owner escaped with minor injuries. A truckload of food stuffs was also vandalised.
Fortunately, no life was lost in the clash due to the prompt intervention of security operatives.
Traders with serious injuries were said to have been quickly taken to the hospital while police vans were stationed at strategic positions.
As a cause for the outbreak of violence, Akeem Emiola, the Public Relations Officer, Ibadan Food Stuffs Sellers Association, Bodija Market, named the tension between the two groups that has been growing since Yoruba traders were killed by Boko Haram members in Borno State on May 5, 2013.
Four traders were killed that day, and ten more people were killed on June 28. 2013.
After the killing, the Ibadan Foodstuff Traders Association placed an indefinite ban on travelling to the North to purchase beans on its members.
It was gathered that despite the ban, Hausa traders still brought beans from the North to the market and sell at very exorbitant prices. The situation worsened as a bag of beans has rose from N11,000 to N20,000
Emiola said Friday’s clash was the climax of the tension that had been on the rise since the death of the fourteen traders.
He said, “Since Boko Haram killed Yoruba traders from Bodija Market, traders could not go to the North to buy food stuffs. But the Hausa traders have a means of sending the products, especially beans, to their kinsmen in Ibadan.
“The price has since risen beyond common man’s ability, which is a source of worry for the leadership of Bodija market union.
“There was tension in the market because only the Hausa traders have been selling beans in largequantity, leaving Yoruba traders idle.”
He added that there were rumours that a clash was imminent between the two ethnic groups, leading to a peace talk called by the community leaders in Bodija area, where all concerned parties were invited.
But a solution remained elusive until Friday, when the state Commissioner of Police, Mohammed Indabawa, invited all the parties involved to find a solution to the brewing crisis.
“On Friday, all the parties concerned met with the Commissioner of Police, where it was agreed that beans coming from the North should be divided equally between the two groups,” said Emiola.”But the truce only lasted a few hours as tension reached a boiling point.”