The Lagos State government on Thursday shut down Mile 12 market after a clash between Yoruba and Hausa communities left five people dead.
Governor Akinwunmi Ambode said Thursday that the market would remain closed until the dispute between the communities is resolved.
“These types of clashes do occur from time to time in a multi-ethnic city like Lagos and the government has always responded appropriately,” Mr. Ambode said.
“The public is hereby assured that we will not shy away from our responsibilities to protect lives and property, and will deal decisively with those criminal elements who fan embers of ethnic strife.”
The cause of the crisis remained unclear, but a resident recalled that it began on Wednesday, following a dispute between two commercial motorcyclists from the two ethnic groups, which degenerated into a crisis after the Hausa rider allegedly stabbed the Yoruba rider.
The resident, who did not want to be named, said youth at Mile 12 attacked the Hausa Okada rider, leading to the Hausa community mobilizing an attack against the Yoruba community.
Five people have been killed since the clashes began, residents said.
It took the intervention of police officers of the Rapid Response Squad to quell the crisis.
But on Thursday, another round of clashes erupted again.
“Today, I have just been informed that some miscreants and criminal elements have exploited that dispute to cause a breakdown of law and order within the area,” Mr. Ambode said on Thursday.
“I have been assured by the commissioner of police and other security agencies who are on ground at the scene that the situation has been substantially brought under control.”
The governor also announced a temporary restriction of movement in four streets the area – Oniyanri Street, Maidan Street, Agiliti 1 and Agiliti 2 – where the clashes occurred.
“Let me assure Lagosians that the state is home to every tribe and ethnic group and nobody should give this disturbance any ethnic coloration whatsoever,” he added.