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Abuja market crisis: FCT Minister dismisses religious, ethnic slant

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THE Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja Minister, Muhammad Musa Bello, has dismissed rumours linking violence that erupted at Dei Dei Market in Abuja on Wednesday to ethnic or religious crisis, saying that the incident was perpetrated by hoodlums with intention to carry out criminal activities.

  Disclosing this in a statement on Thursday during his visit to the affected market, the minister confirmed the incident to be activities of criminal elements, noting that a full-scale investigation will be carried out by the security organisation in collaboration with the affected communities.

  The minister who said his visit to the market was to ascertain for himself the cause and extent of the violence which claimed four lives and resulted in the razing of shops and vehicles within the market, emphasised that part of the reasons for his presence at the scene was due to different stories peddled in the social media linking the incident to inter-ethnic crisis.

 “We came here specifically because on the social media, all kinds of stories are being circulated, saying that there is an inter-ethnic crisis in Abuja with one tribe fighting against the other. I have come here and met the leadership of the market. I have met with leadership of the community and met the political leadership as represented by the chairman and vice chairman of Abuja municipal area council. And what they really came out clearly to say was that this was an accident that occurred when a lady on a commercial motorcycle fell off and a vehicle ran over her and unfortunately, she passed on.” He said,

  Adding, “As a result of this incident, tension rose and hoodlum took over and like they do everywhere in the world, their target is economic asset and they burnt down a substantial part of the timber market and other markets around here and they burnt many vehicles.

“There was no communal clash here and I appeal to all residents of Abuja to continue to live here as we have always lived in peace as the centre of unity.

  The minister assured that a full-scale investigation will be carried out by the security organisation with the full collaboration of the affected communities.

   “This is simply a matter of criminal and hoodlum taking the law into their hands and I implore every community in the FCT to ensure that communities leaders identify miscreant, drug pushers, drug dens and the drinking joints where crime and criminality take place. The police and the military cannot be everywhere at the same time.” Bello said.

  The minister further pledged that there will be upgrading of Police Post in the market, with the FCT administration providing needed support, while more personnel will be provided by the police as pledged by the Police Commissioner.

  The FCT Minister  ordered the immediate ban on all trading activities along the roadsides and directed that all transactions be carried out within the shops.

  It will be recalled that Dei Dei market in Abuja was razed on Wednesday, following violence that erupted after a woman fell from a commercial motorcycle (Okada) and was crushed to death by a truck.

  Unconfirmed report credited to social media says, the unrest was triggered by some group of commercial motorcyclists who retaliated by setting the affected motorcycle ablaze.

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