‘5 Persons Killed’ — How a Bet Started Intertribal Clash in Lagos’ Ile-Epo

A disagreement over a bet started a clash in the Ile-Epo area of Lagos State between Wednesday and Thursday morning, and many people are said to have lost their lives.

Inside the Ile-Epo popular market located in Oke-Odo, Orile Agege, the clash that started like a harmless disagreement between a betting agent and a customer, whose identities Conquest magazine could not ascertain, progressed quickly into a disaster that claimed some lives and left many people hospitalised.

We gathered from multiple traders that the gambler had won a ticket and wanted to cash out his win worth N12,000. For reasons not yet known, the agent only paid out N10,000 to the man.

The man’s insistence on collecting the remaining N2,000 was unsuccessful. The following moments resulted in the two men engaging in a fistfight, with the gambler injuring the betting agent first, according to a cold drink seller.

We gathered from multiple sources that five people lost their lives in the attack, while goods and shops running into millions of naira were looted and burned. Some police officers attached to Ile-Epo Police Station, however, said no one died in the clash. Some traders, who wanted to access the market after it was shut down by the police, were seen having a hot exchange with a police officer identified as ‘Smaller’.

Several security operatives were at the market when our reporter visited on Thursday.

Eyewitnesses told this news platform that the police officers mobilised to the scene by the Lagos State Police Command were responsible for burning a vast dumpsite beside the market today. They added that the police arrested some people randomly yesterday evening.

The dumpsite served as a gold mine where scavengers picked up useful waste. It was also a haven for miscreants.

statement signed by Benjamin Hundeyin, the Lagos State police public relations officer, on Thursday, corroborated the eyewitness’ account. The police said over 50 suspects had been arrested.

The gambling agent was said to be a northerner, while the customer was said to be a Yoruba man. When the fight broke out, it triggered people to get involved across tribal lines, paving the way for miscreants to escalate it.

The injured have been hospitalised at the General Hospital along Old Ota road, Orile Agege, which is a few minutes’ walk from the market.

A man with a fractured leg was, however, abandoned by the roadside close to the market. Some people said he had initially been rejected at the hospital. While this reporter was at the scene, he was taken again by some security men back to a medical facility for treatment.

The police PRO did not answer a call put through to his line, but he sent a text message, saying he couldn’t take the call at that moment. He has not responded to a follow-up text message for his comments.