The FCT Minister, Mohammad Bello has ordered the indefinite closure of Dei-Dei International Market, Abuja following Wednesday’s destruction of the market by thugs.
He directed for the immediate closure after inspecting the razed market with FCT Commissioner of Police, Sunday Babaji, the Director of the Department of Security Services, and other heads of security agencies.
The chaos that led to the razing of the market started after a female trader fell off a commercial motorcycle (okada) and was crushed to death by an articulated vehicle.
The traders at the market reportedly seized the motorcycle, prompting the rider to leave the scene.
He was said to have returned with dozens of people who started a fight and set the market on fire.
During the market inspection on Thursday, the FCT Minister directed the market leaders and host community to fish out the persons responsible for the crisis.
"The community and market leaders must fish out the hoodlums and bad eggs among them.
“Unfortunately, this time around hoodlums carry arms and they shot innocent people.
“As a matter of fact, I saw four corpses. This is very sad and totally, unequivocally unacceptable in Abuja.
"We have agreed with security agencies that full-scale investigations will be done, and the communities have to be part and parcel of the solution or else there will be no peace.
“In the interim, the timber market and the surrounding markets, including all the activities on the road that have clustered the road and made it unpassable will all stop until the technical team reviews everything, and then we will take the next decision.
"I am appealing to other communities within the FCT that there is no tribal or religious misunderstanding because all the leaders of various communities have lived here in peace for many years.
“This is simply the matter of criminals and hoodlums taking the laws into their hands," he said.
The Vice Chairman of Timber Shed Market, Dei-Dei, Ifeanyi Chibata told the Minister that properties worth a billion naira were lost to the razing of about 50 shops.
25 vehicles were set on fire, he said.
The Secretary of Tomato and Onion Sellers Association, Dei-Dei, Dahiru Garba Mani disclosed that four persons were killed during the crisis in the market.
They both appealed to the Minister to make a provision for a police division around the market.