Mohammad Bello, the minister of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, has ordered the closure of Dei-Dei international market indefinitely.
The order came following a clash between commercial motorcyclists, popularly known as okada riders, which claimed at least four lives.
The Minister gave the order after inspecting the scene of the incident alongside the FCT Commissioner of Police, Sunday Babaji, and other security agencies.
According to the Minister, trouble started in the market when a female trader fell off a commercial motorcycle and was crushed to death by an articulated vehicle.
While dismissing initial reports of a communal clash, he directed the community and market leaders to fish out the hoodlums responsible for the crisis.
“What really came out clearly is that this is an accident that occurred, unfortunately when a lady on a motorcycle fell off and I think a vehicle ran over her and unfortunately she passed away,” the Minister said.
“As a result of this incident, tension was high. And then hoodlums took over. And like they do everywhere in the world, their target is economic assets. And they burnt down a substantial part of the timber market and other markets around here; they burnt many vehicles.
“This is why I came here to really say that this is an accident that occurred, that went out of hand. There’s no communal clash here and I appeal to everybody in Abuja to live as we have always lived here – in peace. Because everybody has come to this city to earn a living and the economic activities of this city, particularly this part of the city, is very vibrant. A lot of people eke their daily living here.
“What I told the community leaders is that they have to fish out the hoodlums and bad eggs among them.
“This is more unfortunate because this time around, hoodlums carried arms. And they shot innocent people. As a matter of fact, I saw four corpses; this is very sad and totally and unequivocally unacceptable in Abuja.”