ABUJA – Two persons have been reportedly killed during a clash between two factional members of a transport union in the Idumota area of Lagos .
City Round learnt that the two factions – Eyo boys, reportedly loyal to a union leader known as Kunle Poly, and Kosoko boys – have been at loggerheads over control of a territory in the bustling commercial centre.
It was gathered that Eyo boys expected Kosoko boys collecting levies from commercial bus drivers on Idumota Bridge to make returns but the latter declined.
The growing tension reportedly erupted in a clash around 12pm on Thursday as hoodlums fired gunshots and brandished cutlasses.
One person was said to have been shot dead while another bled to death from machete cuts inflicted on him.
The violence forced traders in markets around the area to abruptly shut down their shops and run for dear life.
Videos of the clash went viral on Friday, with one of the clips showing a bloodied youth being carried away in a wheelbarrow as people ran helter-skelter.
However, normalcy was restored to the area on Friday as policemen and soldiers were stationed in strategic points around the scene but commercial activities had yet to fully return.
A resident of the area, who identified himself as Abdullahi, told City Round that the two factions were entangled in a long-drawn battle.
He said, “The two factions are trying to lay claim to a territory. Most of the boys there are loyal to Kunle Poly and they are from the Eyo area. But there are some boys around the Idumota Bridge collecting money from bus drivers. They are from the Kosoko area and want to be independent but Kunle Poly boys want them to be remitting returns. They have been on this issue for a long time. They clashed again yesterday (Thursday) and two persons were killed.”
A trader, Bisola Adeleke, told our correspondent on Friday that she was in the middle of trading when the fight broke out.
She said, “The fight started around 12pm. I was inside the market. We didn’t even know they were fighting. It was some people who alerted us that union members were fighting. We had to close shops and run away from the market. The situation is calm now. Nothing happened today (Friday). The police are everywhere now.”
A cloth seller, Joseph Udoh, said some traders did not resume on Friday for fear of another clash.
He stated, “There is no fight again but people are scared they may start the fight again. The clash was between the transport union members and was really serious yesterday (Thursday). It was difficult for us to find our way home. There was chaos everywhere. The clash started around noon and lasted till night. I learnt that two persons were killed. One was shot while the other was hacked to death.”
However, a youth residing on Lagos Island simply identified as Waheed gave a slightly different account of the incident.
He said, “It was not a union issue. A boy who used to be with Eyo boys loyal to Kunle Poly left the group and joined Kosoko boys. On Wednesday, some Eyo boys confronted him when they saw him in the Kosoko area and claimed he was a thief.
“The Kosoko boys challenged them that they wrongly accused the boy of stealing because he is no longer with them. It led to an argument and a bottle was smashed on the head of one of the Kosoko boys. On Thursday, Kosoko boys also went on a reprisal and it led to a clash. I heard that one person died.”
Kunle Poly neither picked up repeated calls by our correspondent nor replied to a text message sent to his mobile as of press time.
The Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, CSP Adekunle Ajisebutu, said normalcy had returned to the community but could not immediately confirm the casualties.
He said, “The police have quelled the crisis. Sufficient facilities were deployed in the area immediately we received a distress call and normalcy was restored. As we speak, the place is calm. Some arrests have been made. Investigation is ongoing. I would make enquiries on the casualties and get back to you.”
He had yet to do so as of the time of filing this report.(Punch)