Many people were injured and vehicles smashed when a group street urchins, known as Area Boys, clashed with Hausa scavengers in the Ile-Epo axis, near Abule-Egba, along the Lagos/Abeokuta Road. Motorists and their passengers were stranded as the fighters barricaded the road.
It was gathered that a Yoruba boy was carrying a bag on his head when he was mistakenly pushed by an Hausa scavenger who was passing along the same way.
The scavenger allegedly refused to apologise to the Yoruba boy, who got angry and engaged the scavenger in a verbal abuse and there was a heated argument between the two, which led to a fight. As the two were fighting, some street urchins joined in beating the scavenger, forcing other scavengers of Hausa extraction to join in the fight on the side of their kinsman.
The fight became an ethic battle and a free for all.
The two waring groups used dangerous weapons ,such as daggers, Machetes, broken bottles ,charms and stones to inflict injuries on themselves.
The fight forced those returning from churches and other road users to run for their lives .The fighters blocked the roads ,causing serious gridlock on the two sides of the Express road. Some hoodlums hijacked the situation and started robbing road users ,including motorists . Many people sustained serious injuries while they were scampering for safety .
Muyiwa Taju , told Daily Sun that he did not know that the fight which started as a minor argument whole degenerate to ethnic crisis ;” I was there when the argument started .We were trying to settle the quarrel when some area boys came and started beating the Hausa scavenger .Some scavengers also joined and started calling some of their brothers ,telling them that Yoruba people were beating them up. Before we could know what was happening , Hausa people started arriving on motorcycles (Okada) and the fight became serous .
“ As we discovered that the fight has degenerated into ethnic crisis , we called in the police .Before the police would arrive, many people have been injured. One of my friends ,Wasiu ,who was separating the fight was stabbed in his head .He was rushed to the hospital”.
Lagos State Police public relations officer (PPRO), DSP Bala Elkana ,said five suspects have been arrested in connection with the clash at Oke Odo.
He said :” On August, 18, at about 10 :00am, Alhaji Adekunle Habib , of Ile -Epo market reported at Oke the Ode Police Station that there was a misunderstanding between an Hausa scavenger and an Area boy from Yoruba ethnic group. The area boy was carrying some goods on his head and was pushed by the Hausa boy in error and the goods fell down. Arguments ensued between the two parties which led to exchange of blows.
Friends of the two parties joined in solidarity fight and other miscreants took advantage of the moment to steal and loot.
“They blocked Lagos/Abeokuta Express way .What started as a fight between two miscreants almost snowballed into ethnic crises, if not for the timely intervention of the Police. Police teams from Oke Odo division were the initial responders.
The Command sent reinforcements from the Operations Department, Rapid Response Squads, Taskforce, Tactical Units and Police Mobile Force. Divisions within the Area Command equally sent reinforcements. The situation was brought under control and traffic on the road cleared. No death was recorded, but four persons sustained various degrees of injuries and are receiving medical attention.