Pandemonium broke out in Alaba International Market, Ojo area of Lagos State on Wednesday, when some aggrieved traders protested extortion by members of Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria, RTEAN, in the area.
Eyewitnesses say hoodlums also known as agberos are in the habit of collecting tolls from people who come to buy things in the market. The traders complain that this scares away their customers and makes goods more expensive.
This came just as a group of physically-challenged people blocked both sides of the National Stadium roads, along Funsho Williams Avenue, formerly Western Avenue, in Surulere Local Government Area.
The protesters, who claimed to be athletes, alleged exclusion from the 2022 National Sports Festival in Delta State.
Some of the disabled athletes had thronged the road leading to Teslim Balogun and National Sports facilities to express displeasure over exclusion from the event scheduled to commence on November 28.
On the Alaba clash, according to an eyewitness, the protesting traders, who were infiltrated by miscreants, were armed with various dangerous weapons such cutlasses, arrows, knives, cudgels, among others, as passers-by and other innocent residents scampered for safety.
However, there was no record of any casualty. Men of Rapid Response Squad, RRS, who were deployed have restored order.
Several people sustained various degrees of injuries in the process.
Physically-challenged athletes protest
Meanwhile, in a bid to disperse the protesting athletes policemen from Lagos Command released several cannisters of teargas at the protesters.
Both incidents led to gridlock. As a result, residents alerted the police for intervention and to persuade the demonstrators to leave the road.
However, when the police arrived after all entreaties to leave the road proved abortive, resorted to firing teargas canisters at the protesters.
An eyewitnesses blamed the policemen for allowing the situation to degenerate into chaos, as the protest was initially peaceful until the police intervention