No fewer than 15 persons were yesterday wounded in Ado-Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital during a clash between Yoruba and Hausa okada riders.
The matter, which started as mere intra-union squabble between Yoruba and Hausa okada riders at Atikankan area , the base of the Hausa/Fulani residents in the state, nearly snowballed into a full blown ethnic clash, but for quick intervention of the policemen and the state government.
The victims sustained bodily injuries suspected to be machete cuts and were being attended to at the Accident and Emergency Unit of the Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital (EKSUTH), when newsmen visited the hospital.
The development paralyzed commercial activities in the State capital, as okada riders , market men and women as well as some banks hurriedly closed their shops and stopped work for the day.
No commercial activity took place at the popular Erekesan Market in front of the Ewi's Palace, which is situated at a close range to the flash point of the crisis.
As at the time of filing this report, thick smoke was still emanating from the affected area due to bonfires made by the okada riders in solidarity with their affected members.
The Commissioner of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Maishanu , who said nobody has been arrested in connection with the mayhem, stated that the matter started when an Hausa okada rider refused to pay his due, which enraged his Yoruba counterpart..
Contradicting the Police Commissioner's position, the Chairman, Okada Riders Association of Ekiti State, Mr. Olu Martins Ademo, said his member only asked for the particulars of the motorbike of the Hausa man.
He said he did this as part of the efforts to check motorbike theft, which his members had been alleged of perpetrating.
Ademo also said his union had on February 4 written to the leadership of Hausa Community to give them a representative that would serve as intermediary between them and the Union , saying this was a confirmation that the Union has smooth relationship with the Hausa.
The Police Commissioner said he immediately dispatched his men to the scene to curtail the situation to prevent the matter from assuming a dangerous ethnic colouration.
It was gathered from sources that the Hausa okada rider had attacked his Yoruba counterpart, which drew the attention of the Hausa /Fulani people from the neighbourhood.
At a time, members of the commercial drivers mobilized to the scene, but were resisted by the heavily armed policemen that have blocked all the roads to the scene.
The State government also dispatched a team led by the Chief of Staff, Mr. Yemi Adaramodu, in company of security men to the Atinkankan area, where the Hausa/Fulani people reside to evacuate them, having been held hostage, but they refused.
The Chairman of the Hausa Community in Ekiti State, Mr. Adamu Liman, said some of his people, who were wounded in the fracas are already receiving treatment at the hospital.
He urged his men not to ignore security advice by complying with the State Government's order that they should be relocated to a safe place in the interest of peace.
The Police Commissioner said he instructed his men not to make any arrest in order not to escalate the violence. Maishanu said he will hold a meeting with the leadership of the Okada Riders' Association to prevent future occurrence.