By Ismail Auwal
At least 17 northerners have lost their lives and hundreds have been evacuated to their respective states in the aftermath of what appears to be an ethnic cleansing agenda in Sasha market, Ibadan, Oyo State.
By the moment the story of attacks on Hausas filtered out, several people have been rendered homeless, seeking refuge, while their children were starving due to lack of food.
SAHELIAN TIMES gathered that the 42-year old Hausa-Fulani dominated Sasha market was established by Sarkin Sasha Alhaji Haruna Maiyasin. It was several years after the market was established by Hausas that the indigenous Yorubas joined.
Alhaji Yaro, who was born in the North but spent over 60 years in Sasha, in an exclusive interview with our reporter, said the seed of resentment was planted when the Yorubas started seeking for leadership position in the market.
“They (Yorubas) insisted that the leadership position of the market should be made rotational. It should be made a tenure system of two years, and to be rotated between Hausas and Yorubas,” he said.
He stressed that there has always been that remnant of envy since then. “We cannot share what we built from a scratch with those that didn’t know how we built it.”
Speaking on how the crisis was ignited, Alhaji Yaro said that a Nigerien was carrying a basket of tomatoes which fell down and spilt over the surfaces in front of a Yoruba woman’s shop.
“The woman insisted that he must clean up and wash the place. A Yoruba cobbler intervened and sided the woman.”
“The Nigerien, identified only as Manager, slapped the cobbler who immediately fainted and later died the next day in a hospital,”. Yaro explained.
Yaro went further to traced the root of the crisis to the death of that cobbler. He said, “The news about the death of the cobbler spread like wildfire and later degenerated into an ethnic conflict, leading to the killings of several northerners as a revenge to the death of their tribesman.”
SAHELIAN TIMES learnt that the Yorubas started their ethnic cleansing by burning down a tea joint belonging to a Hausa man, and then proceeded to burnt down houses of Hausas.
“Most the houses they burned down, unknowingly to them, belong to their kinsmen, whereas the northerners only rented them,” said Yaro.
The Hausa residents of Sasha also blamed the government for not sending security operatives to the scene as early as possible.
“Police only arrived 24 hours after the crisis has started. When they arrived they acted like onlookers and refused to act as security operatives,” one of the affected people alleged while speaking to our reporter.