Jide Jegede Published May 7, 2013
Three Yoruba traders from the biggest market in Ibadan were shot dead in Hausa/Fulani Islamic controlled Northern Nigeria where they went for business.
There was palpable tension at the popular Bodija Market, Ibadan on Tuesday as the traders protested the alleged killing of four of their colleagues by Boko Haram insurgents in Maiduguri, Borno State on Sunday.
The victims, identified simply as Nihas, Fatai a.k.a Coach, Alaba, and Amodu were allegedly shot dead by unidentified gunmen two kilometers to Dikua Village, their destination, when they traveled to the Borno State capital to buy millet products.
The market was officially shut yesterday as no trading activities were allowed to take place. The deceased were said to be responsible young men. Sources at the market told PREMIUM TIMES that the gunmen ambushed the commercial bus in which they were travelling in and ordered it to stop. The assailants then started sorting the passengers according to their ethnic background and found out that there were four Yorubas among the 16 passengers in the vehicle.
They were ordered to lie face down and shot to death, a market leader, who craved anonymity, said. It was gathered that the attackers made away with millions of naira with which the traders planned to buy their goods.
The news was broken to the market leadership on Sunday by kinsmen of the deceased who usually accommodate the dead traders on their trips to the North.
Fearing reprisal and possible clash between mourning Yoruba traders and their Hausa counterparts in Bodija Market, armed policemen were swiftly drafted to the market. Two patrol vans and a contingent of stern-looking policemen with Ak-47 rifles were seen stationed at strategic locations in the market.
This is not the first time. That was how they killed three cattle dealers from here in the same area three days to the Eid-il-kabir festival in October last year. They can’t be killing us and make our business trip no longer safe. Many of us often contribute money to this our representative so we can buy in bulk and then share, especially, the elderly ones who can no longer undertake such trips, lamented one trader.
The traders also refused to consider the notion that the assailants may have been armed robbers, saying if they were, the murderers would have collected the money first from the deceased traders before shooting.
The corpses of two of the victims and a wounded one were said to have been taken to the Maiduguri General hospital where they latter later died. All were deposited in the hospital morgue. The bodies were expected to arrive at Ibadan for funeral on Tuesday.