Armed hoodlums on Tuesday invaded the popular Alaba International Market in Ojo, Lagos and unleashed mayhem, stealing and destroying property.
Dozens of people including traders and customers were injured in the incident which halted business and vehicular movement in and out of the market.
The armed gangs attacked the electronic section of the market and took away goods worth millions of naira.
Over 159 mobile phones were reportedly stolen from seven shops by the hoodlums who scared the traders away with dangerous weapons.
One of the traders, Onyema, said two rival groups of street boys engaged in a bloody fracas over the control of the market.
One of the groups identified as ‘Baale Boys’, reportedly launched a reprisal on another group operating at the electronics section after a previous attack on their members.
Not even the presence of an Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC permanently stationed at the market could deter the hoodlums.
Our reporter, who visited the area in the thick of the crisis, noted that several banks and shop owners hurriedly locked their premises.
A phone dealer at the St Peter’s Bus Stop, Leo Ibekwe, said the hoodlums broke into his shop and took away 22 different phones estimated at over N200,000.
The Chairman, Task Force, Phone Dealers Association in the market, Mr Ebere Nwafor, confirmed the attack on his members, saying 159 pieces mobile phones were stolen from seven phone dealers.
Some of the victims, he said, include: Mr Leo Ibekwe, Queen Etolobi, Mr Agozie, Mr Aku, among others. Dozens of policemen were later drafted to the troubled scene to control the situation.
Lagos State police spokesman, Joe Offor, said it was a minor skirmish between transport operators and traders who were protesting the high increase in transport fares which they claimed was affecting their business.