Scores have been reported killed in a clash between residents of Ilesha-Baruba in the Baruten local government area of Kwara State and men of the Nigerian Armed Forces deployed to the area on Joint Border Drill.
Tribune Online gathered that cause of the Friday fracas was linked to alleged market booking fare in Sinawu market, located in the area, between the men of the military and commercial drivers carrying rice to the market.
It was gathered that the commercial driver had reportedly given N100 bribe to the men while entering the market but refused to give another money when leaving the market when allegedly demanded by the men of the border patrol team.
A source in the area said that refusal of the driver, however, infuriated the officers and the driver was allegedly slapped and ordered to do frog jumps while his vehicle was seized.
”Due to the development, members of the union followed the driver with the aim of talking to the soldiers on his behalf.
“This degenerated into unpleasant arguments, leading to the shooting of some drivers with three reported dead on the spot and two died later from gunshot wounds,” the source said.
The police public relations officer (PPRO) of the state command, Ajayi Okasanmi, who confirmed the development, said that the command had already commenced an investigation into the matter.
The police spokesperson also said that normalcy had returned to the area.
Commenting on the development, Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq rued deaths at Baruten checkpoint and mourned casualties.
In a statement by the governor’s CPS, Rafiu Ajakaye, AbdulRazaq commiserated with families of those who died in the Friday fracas in Ilesha Baruba involving some residents and operatives of the Federal Government’s Joint Task Force on Border Patrol.
“The Governor sincerely commiserates with the Emir of Ilesha Baruba Prof. Halidu Abubakar and families of those who lost their lives in the unfortunate incident. The incident is sad and definitely avoidable.
“The Governor, who has been in constant touch with all the stakeholders in the community, including the traditional institutions and security forces since the unfortunate incident, calls for continuous calm and restraints. He cautions against any activities that could trigger new tensions.
“A government delegation is to pay a condolence visit to the affected community while findings will be conducted to establish all the facts and forestall a repeat of the sad and unfortunate incident,” he said.
Also, Speaker, Kwara State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Engr. Yakubu Danladi Salihu has expressed displeasure over the clash that ensued between men of the Nigerian Armed Forces deployed to Ilesha Baruba, Baruten local government on Joint Border Drill and residents of the town.
In a statement issued by the Special Assistant on Media to the Speaker, Ibrahim Sheriff, the lawmaker lamented the circumstances that reportedly led to the fracas, which left scores dead and others sustaining varying degrees of injury.
“I am sad and displeased to receive news of the ugly incident that claimed lives of young and promising members of my constituency and left scores injured in Ilesha Baruba.
“The circumstance that reportedly led to the unfortunate incident was avoidable and will be unravelled,” Danladi-Salihu said.
The Speaker expressed condolences to His Royal Highness, Emir of Ilesha Baruba – Prof. Halidu Abubakar, families of dead victims of the incident and wish the injured quick recovery.
Danladi-Salihu further noted that he is working with relevant authorities to ensure the matter is thoroughly investigated and that justice is served.
He also appealed to residents of Ilesha Baruba to not take laws into their hands, maintain the peace that Kwara state is known for and go about their lawful businesses without fear or hindrance.
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