By Patience Ogbo
His Royal Highness Sarkin Shasha, Sardaunan Yamma, who is also the Chairman Council of Arewa traditional rulers in the 17 southern states of Nigeria, the Hausa and Yoruba in Shasha are claiming that the market, also known as the ‘Iroko market’ belonged to them.
He said this claim, over the years, had caused tension and division among the two major tribes and this was said to be the root cause of the crisis which led to loss of businesses and destruction of property there.
Speaking during a visit by top politicians in the state to his palace. The Sarkin said, “We asked for a market when we came to settle in Shasha community over 40 years ago. The government gave us a piece of land which is the market we have today.
“The first goods that were brought into the market were 30 trucks of Onions and Tomatoes from the North. Since inception, the Hausa had been the leader of the market, but some people in Shasha took me to court that the market belonged to them.
“There were gangs who were formenting trouble in the market with their ethnic sentiment and we drew the attention of police and the state government to these gangs who were fanning the flame of ethnic tussles over the market but the government and the security agents did not arrest these gang members until they took advantage of the tense situation that fateful day and unleashed terror. These boys are the ones still stopping goods from entering the market.”
On his part, Baale of Shasha land, His Royal Highness, Oba Amusa Akinade Ajani, said the market belonged to the Yoruba. His words, “We were relocated from our ancestral home where is called IITA today to Shasha. The Rockefeller Foundation built the market for our women and we have been collecting token from the market.
Baale of Shasha Land
“We do not have problem with the Hausa. We do not want the market to be relocated to another community. We are appealing to the state government to lift the curfew and reopen the market.”
When contacted over allegations that the police ignored warning signs and did nothing to prevent the crisis, spokesperson for the Oyo State Police Command, CSP Olugbenga Fadeyi, denied the allegation.
He said, “You know when there is problem like this, people make allegations to undermine security agents on ground. “Our policemen are in Shasha to maintain law and order. The State Criminal Investigation Department at Iyaganku, Ibadan, have commenced investigation to find out what and who were behind the market burning, killing and destruction at Sasa community.”
It was gathered that Governor Seyi Makinde visited Shasha and held a stakeholders’ meeting. The governor called on the warring groups to sheath their swords as he reopened the market .