Saturday, 23 May 2015
Ekiti Crisis: State’s Largest Market Set Ablaze, as Fayose Evacuates Hausa Community
In spite of the dusk-to-dawn curfew imposed by Governor Ayo Fayose of Ekiti State on Wednesday, a fresh threat to the peace of the state brewed on Friday when unknown persons razed the popular Oja-Oba (King’s market) in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital.
The market, located directly opposite the palace of the traditional ruler in Ado-Ekiti, and populated by Yoruba traders, was reportedly set on fire in the early hours of Friday by unknown persons.
No one has claimed responsibility for the arson, and the police are yet to establish those who carried out the attack on the market.
There are fears Friday that Hausa traders in the city, whose market was earlier razed, might be attacked again.
Reacting to these fears, Governor Fayose personally supervised the evacuation of the Hausa community in four long buses to a safer place called Shasha located along the Ado-Ekiti-Ikere-Ekiti road, to protect them from attack.
He said the Hausa community would be at Shasha until further notice and would be heavily guarded by both soldiers and mobile policemen.
The shop owners, who arrived the market in the the morning to commence their business activities, met their shops engulfed in bellows of smoke.
Most schools in the city were shut, including banks and other commercial centres.
A large detachment of security operatives were immediately drafted to different locations to prevent further escalation of the crisis.
Police also made random arrest of several persons in connection with the incident.
There are claims in government circles that the crisis is assuming a political dimension, and fueled by elements from opposing interests.
Idowu Adelusi, the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Fayose, noted that some political actors might be hiding under the current crisis to actualise their political ends to the detriment of the peace of the state.
Governor Fayose, in company with Police Commissioner Etop James, visited the scene, expressing dismay at the breach of the peace in the face of the curfew.
He however noted that he had no plans to declare a 24-hour curfew, even though some persons were calling for it.