By Lateef Taiwo
A violent clash between Itsekiri and Hausa youths erupted in the Ogun-Aja, (Etamua), area of Sapele at the weekend night, resulting in three Injured, three others in Critical health condition, while the destruction of tricycles, motorcycles was allegedly massive
The conflict reportedly began with a dispute involving an Arewa youth who discovered his lover with another man in the urban area. Another account suggests it started when a motorcycle rider of Northern extraction accidentally collided with the car of an Itsekiri individual on his way to a burial ceremony.
Allegedly, the Northern youths mobilized and attacked several Itsekiri youths, leading to the stabbing of two individuals. The sudden eruption of violence caused traders, passersby, and commuters to flee for their safety.
As rumors spread about the death of an Itsekiri individual, the crisis escalated into a full-scale fight during the night. Numerous shops were looted, three tricycles and two motorcycles were set ablaze, and another tricycle and motorbike were destroyed. Three individuals sustained severe, life-threatening injuries.
An eyewitness, who preferred to remain anonymous, confirmed the incident, claiming that the Hausa youths further intensified the situation by launching an attack on the Itsekiri boys at mission road, by Ogodo road junction, resulting in the stabbing of two Itsekiri boys.
“The Itsekiri boys appeared to have moved on from the initial clash, when the Hausa boys launched another attack, exacerbating the crisis,” the eyewitness stated.
The injured individuals, at the time of this report, are currently receiving treatment at an undisclosed hospital.
Another witness, Mrs. Juan Akpome, who observed the situation around 5 p.m. on Saturday, recalled hearing people shouting about stabbings and witnessing panicked individuals running for safety.
The police, under the leadership of Divisional Police Officer Harrison Nwabuisi, and other security agencies, swiftly intervened, forcing the troublemakers into hiding.
As a result, the affected areas, including parts of MacPherson Road, Hausa road, Itsekiri road, and Boyo Road to Mission Road, were closed. Police and security personnel conducted patrols in the troubled spots, while shops began closing as early as 7 p.m.
While the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Bright Edafe, however confirmed the incident , disclosing that the police have moved into the fracas with a view to ensuring amicably resolution. But another police source disclosed that no lives were lost, contradicting reports of an Itsekiri fatality. However, the police have made several arrests in connection with the crisis.