From Fred Itua, Abuja
Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Muhammad Bello, has come under fire from traders over what they consider as his poor handling of Wednesday’s clash between commercial motorcycles and traders that claimed five.
The minister who visited the scene of the clash Wednesday night ordered the indefinite closure of Dei-Dei International Market. He directed the community and market leaders to fish out the hoodlums responsible for the crisis.
“We have agreed with security agencies that full scale investigations will be done, and the communities have to be part and parcel of the solution or else there will be no peace.”
Trouble started in the market when a female trader yet to be identified fell off a commercial motorcycle and was crushed to death by an articulated vehicle.
However, residents and those who do business in the market, have however knocked the minister for shutting down the market, without banning commercial motorcyclists who ignited the fight that also led to loss of millions of naira.
A major furniture dealer, Okafor Ohaegbu, alleged that the action of the minister proved that he is protecting the commercial motorcycle operators, who should have be banned.
He bemoaned the shutting down of the market, claiming that traders are the victims. He warned that if activities okada riders in the area are not curtailed, a fresh crisis may break out.
Vice chairman of the Timber Shed Market Dei-Dei, Ifeanyi Chibata, said about 45 to 50 shops were burnt, with 25 vehicles set ablaze which total over N1 billion.
Meanwhile, Commissioner of Police, FCT Police Command, Babaji Sunday, has dismissed any purported fresh crisis in the FCT saying his men are on patrol to beef security of lives and property.