Agiliti: Fragile peace returns

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    …as OP MESA arrests four fake Hausa soldiers

    By OKOSUN DENNIS

    ALTHOUGH peace meetings were held to finally resolve the fracas at Agiliti a fortnight ago, leading to the re-opening of Mile 12 market by the Lagos State government last Thursday, an uneasy calm hovers around the community.

    Residents are still in fear and suspicion that the moment soldiers are withdrawn from Agiliti, the Hausas might still stage another attack.

    The National Daily check revealed that there have been pockets of arrest made by security agencies after cessation of hostilities by the two ethnic rivals.

    It was learnt that soldiers of OPERATION MESA, a Lagos state internal security initiative, on March 12 arrested four Hausa young men who were dressed in military uniform and armed with axe, cutlasses and two jerry cans of fuel with several boxes of matches.

    They were said to have come in KekeMarwa and had successfully beat some check points towards Agiliti before they were arrested by the soldiers of OP MESA.

    Besides, two other miscreants were also allegedly arrested with jerry cans of fuel and matches ostensibly to commit arson.

    A member of the community who spoke to our reporter said, “We are happy with the presence of soldiers and policemen in the community especially with the imposition of curfew. It has helped to stabilize peace and tranquillity.”

    ALSO SEE: Agiliti: Police supported Hausa — Yoruba elders

    Also, a lady who sells assorted drinks in a caravan, Abiola Bola, explained that the crisis has affected sales especially in the evening as most daily sales take place in the evening.
    “My fear is that the Hausa boys are still ready to fight anytime the military is withdrawn from the roads. We want the military to stay and the market should be relocated. We don’t want the market again at Mile 12,” she added.

    At Agiliti, businesses are dull. Vehicular traffic is reduced with most shops not fully functional. So many residents have not come back since the fight started. It was learnt that some lost their means of livelihood – homes and have relocated – while some are afraid of reprisal.

    “The market should be relocated because there is a ghetto behind it where criminals hide after stealing from people,” Elder Oduwole advised.

    However, the Community Development Authority (CDA) Chairman, Elder Joseph Adekunle Adewumi, told our reporter on phone that a peace meeting held at the Banquet Hall of the Governor’s office, Alausa and a press conference have brought peace.

    He revealed that Governor Akinwunmi Ambode has promised to assist those that suffered losses with a view to getting back to business, noting that they have been tasked to submit evidences of what they suffered on or before last Friday.

    On his part, a visit to AlhajiHaruna Mohammed, Chairman of Arewa Perishable market located inside Mile 12 market was not positive as our reporter was told the chairman was attending a meeting but when his phone was called, he did not respond.

    However, a source close to him disclosed that he has apologised for the crisis that broke out accepting to embrace peace. He added that he would cooperate to relocate the market.

    ALSO SEE: AGILITI: Schoolkids scale fence to beat slaughterers

    At the Glorious Destiny Nursery and Primary School, one of the schools burnt down by the irate Hausa youths, was fully in session and has begun their 2nd term examination. Unfortunately, about 30 percent of the students failed to resume after the fracas for fear of reprisals or some families of the students had lost their homes and businesses during the crisis and have relocated.

    The proprietress of the school, Mrs Elizabeth Oluwatoyin Oyeniyi said they have lost almost everything that makes a normal school function properly.

    She explained that the burning down of two classrooms, the Headmaster and Proprietress’ offices, the library and store for school documents is a burden too much to bear.

    While soliciting for government assistance, she said items lost by the school include two ceiling fans, three television sets; one photocopying machine, three computers sets; two big generators; two book shelves full of text books; 1, 000 exercise books, one new pumping machine; two big coolers full with plates and glasses; one deep freezer full of soft drink; one fridge; 20 chairs and tables for pupils and teachers, mattresses; public address system and megaphone among other things.

    She seeks for government intervention to rebuild and re-equip the school noting that all they lost is over N10 million.

    Similarly, the Headmaster of the school, Mr Olamide James Ojo said the damaged classroom is affecting them as they have to merge classes to enable the pupils write their examination.

    Investigations revealed that compared to two weeks ago, when the crisis escalated, normal businesses is gradually returning even though there is alleged mutual suspicion that the miscreants might do the unthinkable at the slightest opportunity.

    Fears are heightened because of the arrest said to have been made last Saturday of four fake soldiers in the community.

    When contacted, the Assistant Director, Army Public Relations, (ADAPR) 81 Division, Nigerian Army, Lt Col Kingsley Samuel said there was no such thing reported. “Please, nothing like that occurred at Agiliti,” he explained.

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