Arsonists have set ablaze popular Oja Oba, the biggest market in Ekiti State, hours after the state Governor, Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti, imposed a dusk to dawn curfew on the state due to the clash between Hausa community and a section of Yoruba residents in the state capital, Ado-Editi, western Nigeria.
Eyewitnesses told P.M.NEWS that the market was burnt between midnight and early Friday morning by unidentified persons.
Although goods worth millions of naira were destroyed, efforts made by men of the Fire Service to put out the fire prevented the entire market from being razed down.
Head of the State Fire Service said they had to call Ikole Ekiti for reinforcement.
Governor Fayose had imposed a curfew between 6p.m and 6a.m. on Thursday when he visited the Hausa community at Atikankan area of Ado Ekiti following a violent clash that left three persons dead.
Fayose explained that the curfew had become necessary to forestall further mayhem and arrest perpetrators of the violence.
He ordered the security agencies to arrest anyone found roaming the streets in defiance of the curfew.
The governor appealed to warring factions to remain calm and assured that justice would be done in the case.
“I plead with you to allow peace to reign. Nigeria belongs to all of us, whether you are Hausa, Igbo or Yoruba.
“I assure you that the perpetrators and sponsors of this evil act will not go unpunished,” he said.
Despite Fayose’s plea, the mayhem took another dimension Friday as Mobile Policemen deployed to quel it, moved from house to house arresting people that had nothing to do with the mayhem.
Eyewitnesses said the policemen even broke down doors to carry out the indiscriminate arrests and torture of the victims.
Sources said the state government is planning to relocate Hausas at Atikankan area of Ado Ekiti to another location because of their high concentration at Shasha on Ikere Road.
Ekiti has been gripped by a high crime rate, especially kidnapping and violent armed robbery attacks, and all manner of lawlessness and impunity since Fayose took over power last year.