The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, has ordered the immediate deployment of four units of riot policemen to address the violence in parts of Oyo State.
The intervention and stabilization forces also include the Force Intelligence Bureau operatives and one surveillance helicopter from the police airwing department.
Oyo State has been lately wracked by violence, including the killings of farmers by suspected herdsmen, abductions, and the clashes between some Hausa and Yoruba traders at Shasha market.
The clash started as a result of the death of Mr Sakirudeen Adeola, a Yoruba cobbler who was hit by an object suspected to be a charm by a yet to be identified load carrier who is a Hausa man on Thursday.
The death of Adeola which was announced at the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan on Friday, prompted some of the Yoruba traders to question the death of their kinsman, which later resulted in a free for all fight between the two ethnic groups and as at yesterday no fewer than fifteen (15) houses and thirty (30) shops worth over fifty million Naira (N50,000,000.00) have been burnt by people suspected to be hoodlums or miscreants.
But the force spokesman, CP Frank Mba, in a statement on Monday, titled, ‘Oyo crisis: IGP deploys intervention and stabilization forces,’ said the operatives would reclaim the public space, reinforce security and bolster public confidence in the areas affected by the crisis.
It stated, “The deployments, consisting largely of intelligence and operational assets of the Force, include four units of the Police Mobile Force, seasoned operatives from the Force Intelligence Bureau and one operational/surveillance police helicopter from the police Air-wing department.
“The intervention force is being coordinated by a Deputy Inspector General of Police, David Folawiyo, who is expected to mobilize all relevant stakeholders towards achieving the mandate of the squad.”
The statement said the IG assured that the force was committed to the safety of the lives and properties of the citizens in the country.
He called on the citizens and residents of Oyo State and other Nigerians to embrace peace and cooperate with the police and the security community “as they redouble their efforts in ensuring that sustainable peace and security are restored to the affected areas.”
In a related development, The Oyo State government has also ordered an indefinite closure of the market and imposed a curfew.
The governor, in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Taiwo Adisa, indicated that he gave the order to forestall breakdown of law and order in the area.
He had warned residents of the affected areas to go about their legitimate businesses peacefully.
“His Excellency, Governor Seyi Makinde has directed the immediate closure of Shasha market indefinitely following reports of a breach of peace in the area.
“The governor has also approved the imposition of a curfew on Shasha. It will run from 6 p.m. to 7 a.m.
“Residents of the affected area are enjoined to go about their legitimate businesses within the hours stipulated by the law.
“Anyone caught disrupting the peace of the community will be made to face the wrath of the law.”
‘A Yoruba trader in the market, identified as Dele said his shop was burnt completely.
“Our shops have been burnt. We are still counting our losses. We need help.”
The Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Saliu Akanmu Adetunji, has also warned against further destruction of property and killings in the market.
The monarch gave the warning when he met some stakeholders over the clash that erupted in the market.
Adetunji, while urging all the concerned persons to embrace peace, urged all warring factions to sheathe their swords.
“Many of our compatriots have been living with each other for a long time. We grow up and attend schools together.
“People from diverse ethnic groups do intermarry and give birth to lovely children.
“Immediately the report of the crisis got to us in the palace yesterday, the Governor of Oyo State, Engr. Seyi Makinde was the first person I called and we have his promise that appropriate action would be taken as sinners would not go unpunished.”
However, the Public Relations Officer of the state Police Command, Mr Olugbenga Fadeyi has insisted that normalcy has returned to the market.
Fadeyi, however, was silent about the number of casualties and property that were destroyed and did not reveal the number of casualties or number of property destroyed but assured that with Police presence evident in the market it will curtail further uproar.
Fadeyi said, “Normalcy is returning to the area.
“Police presence is evident there 24/7 to curtail further uproar.”