We lost properties worth N500m to Bwari crisis — Traders, residents
There was anger on Tuesday as traders and residents of Bwari community, Abuja assessed their losses resulting from the clash between Hausa and Gbagyi youths which led to the destruction of properties and death of three persons on Monday.
Our correspondent, who visited the scene, observed that Bwari market which housed over 1,500 shops, was completely burnt down by the rampaging youths.
The residents claimed that they lost properties worth N500m in the violent crisis.
Traders that visited the market to salvage wares from their shops were shocked by the extent of destruction.
While some of them could locate their shops, which were sited at the entrance of the market, others had difficulty identifying their shops which had been razed.
A trader simply identified as ‘Yellow’ was said to have lost seven shops to the crisis which was traced to the supremacy tussle between the Etsu Bwari and Sarkin Hausa in the community.
Yellow was said to own three provision shops — a chemist, a shop where baby wares were sold and two foodstuff shops.
It was learnt that he had just took delivery of new items in his provision and baby ware stores on Friday in preparation for Christmas sales.
Many of the new products, it was gathered, were destroyed by the Gbagyi youths, who allegedly set the market ablaze in retaliation for the killing of one of their members by their Hausa rivals.
Sule, who had a provision shop and a warehouse in the market, said, “On Sunday, I made a lot of sales in my shop as a result of the last-minute Christmas shopping by people.
“I made sales of over N1.5m and I couldn’t take it to the bank as my bank does not operate on Sundays, so I kept the money in my shop because I felt it was safe there since we had adequate security at the market.
“On Monday, I went to Gwagwalada to see my friend whose wife gave birth. It was while I was in Gwagwalada that I got a call that there was a fight between Gbagyi and Hausa youths and that the Gbagyi boys had set the market on fire.”
He added, “On getting here, I saw that my shop and warehouse had been completely burnt and nothing was spared. The place where I kept the money was burnt and I couldn’t event recognise the box in which the money was kept.
“It’s a very sad day for me because this is where all my life savings was. I even borrowed money from a microfinance bank to stock my shop and the goods there were worth over N15m. I’m confused now because I don’t know what to do.”
Another shop owner, identified as Chijioke, said his electronics shop in the market was completely destroyed during the clash.
“It’s indeed a sad day for us in this market; where are we going to start from? My shops with goods worth over N10m have been lost to this senseless act of these people,” he added.
The Bwari town was calm as of the time of filing this report, while people were seen gathering in clusters discussing the clash.
There was a heavy presence of soldiers and policemen on the scene of the crisis and other areas within the Bwari community.
As at 11am, firefighters were still busy trying to put out the fire that was still raging in some shops.
The FCT police spokesman, Anjuguri Manzah, could not confirm the arrest of the suspects involved in the destruction of the market.