OYO State police commissioner Ngozi Onadeko has revealed that the seven persons arraigned in connection with the Shasha market crisis last month are to be released after she received legal advice indicating that they have no case to answer.
Last month, violence broke out in Ibadan after northerners were attacked at Sasha Market in Akinyele Local Government Area of Oyo State. This attack on Fulani’s working in the market, precipitated by the murder of diasporan farmer Dr Fatai Aborode, led to a loss of lives and the destruction of property, which forced the state government to close down the facility.
Apart from closing down the market, Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State also asked the police to prosecute anyone found to be culpable for the loss of life. After being shut for about a week, the market was re-opened and it now appears that charges will dropped against all those arrested in a bid to find a political solution to the crisis.
Oyo State police commissioner Ngozi Onadeko said the seven persons arraigned in court over the disturbance are to be released soon. She added that they are to be released following the receipt of legal advice from the director of public prosecution (DPP) who pointed out that those arrested had no case to answer.
Police commissioner Onadeko also cleared the police of bias or favouritism, saying the suspects were handed over to them by the military. She disclosed that the suspects were with the Nigerian Army, which arrested them for 11 or 12 days, before they were handed over to the police.
When asked to comment on people’s anger over the non-arraignment of any Hausa traders who were accused of burning down hundreds of buildings and shops, the police commissioner reiterated that ethnic or religious coloration should not be given to crime. She added that they only arraigned individuals who the military handed over to them.
“It’s out of question when seven suspects were handed over to us. It is not an issue of whether they are Yoruba or Igbo, so let us stop giving crime ethnic or religious coloration,” Police commissioner Onadeko said.
In addition, police commissioner Onadeko spoke about the trouble that surfaced in Ayete after members of the Oodua People’s Congress (OPC) arrested three persons, including a Fulani man known as Wakili. She added that the OPC members arrested Wakili and two others and the police learnt that as the OPC left the camp, some people set it on fire and a woman was shot in the stomach, leading to her death
She enjoined those with complaints about Wakili to approach the State Criminal Investigation Department (CID) to register their grievances, promising to investigate it to a logical conclusion. In addition, she disclosed that Wakili was initially taken to hospital when he was brought to the State CID, as he was seen gasping.
Police commissioner Onadeko added: “When they got to the State CID, the management team interrogated them and it was there we found out that three people that came with three others were OPC members. They had been trying to arrest Wakili and from their narration, they said that they got to the camp and Wakili and others attacked them but all the suspects were being interrogated, with their statements taken.”