By Christopher Oji
Two persons were shot dead while 10 others were injured when suspected members of the Oodua People’s Congress (OPC) and scavengers of Hausa origin clashed at the Ijegun area of Lagos State.
The scavengers resisted alleged extortion by men believed to be OPC members, leading to the clash.
The protesters, who claimed to have been living along the pipeline for years, alleged that they had suffered harassment and intimidation in the hands of OPC members, who kept watch over the pipeline that passed through the area. In their resistance, a clash ensued, leading to the death of two scavengers from gun shot. Ten others sustained injuries.
One of the protesters, Haruna Ahmed, alleged that suspected members of OPC extort money from them with coercion, before they are allowed to operate in the area.
Trouble started after some OPC members stormed the area in the early hours of yesterday and allegedly demanded money from some of the scavengers, which was turned down. The OPC members allegedly left but returned at about 5am and also met a resistance from the scavengers, numbering over 100.
The OPC members were said to have retreated, only to come back in their numbers, shooting indiscriminately. In the process, two Hausa men identified as Gazali Rabiu and Gadaffi Barawu were shot dead.
Ten others, who sustained bullet wounds, were later rushed to the hospital.
The problem escalated when the scavengers allegedly contacted their colleagues from different parts of the state, who arrived and attacked a security post along the pipeline occupied by OPC. They also wanted to storm the OPC offices around Ijegun, when policemen arrived the scene.
It took the intervention of the Commander Area M, Idimu, Austin Akika, an Assistant Commissioner of Police and the Divisional Police Officers in-charge of Igando and Isheri to pacify the angry Hausa scavengers.