The FCT Minister, Muhammad Musa Bello has ordered the closure of the popular Dei-Dei international market in Abuja until further notice.
The Minister gave the order on Wednesday following the violent clash between commercial motorcycle riders popularly called okada riders and traders in the market.
Five people were reportedly killed and houses set on fire in the clash.
Following the violent clash, the FCT Minister visited the market in the company of FCT Commissioner of Police Sunday Babaji, Director State Security Services, other security agencies and top officials of the FCT Administration.
Bello gave the directive for the shutdown of the market following an assessment of the scene of the violence and directed a comprehensive investigation into the immediate and remote circumstances that led to the clash.
”The community and market leaders must fish out hoodlums and bad eggs among them, unfortunately, this time around hoodlums carry arms and they shot innocent people.
As a matter of fact, I saw four corpses this is very sad and totally unequivocally unacceptable in Abuja.
“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.
”In the interim the timber market and the surrounding markets, including all the activities on road that have clustered the road and made it unpassable will all stop until the technical team reviews everything, and then we will take the next decision,” Bello said.
The Minister emphasized the need to promote ethnic and religious tolerance so hoodlums can’t take advantage of any lapses.
” This is simply the matter of criminals and hoodlums taking the laws into their hands.” he said.
On their part, some of the market leaders lamented the extent of destruction that occurred to the Minister and his team.
The Vice-Chairman, Timber Shed Market Dei-Dei, Ifeanyi Chibata told the delegation that 45 to 50 shops were burnt while 25 vehicles set ablaze.
In his own version, the Secretary Tomato and Onion Sellers Association Dei-Dei, Dahiru Mani disclosed that four persons were killed during the violence that broke out in the market.
Meanwhile, the FCT Police Command says normalcy has been restored in the market and its operatives are on standby to keep the situation under control.