We lost millions to Bwari violence, market fire – Residents

The Bwari market on fire

Residents of Bwari, the capital of Bwari Area Council in Abuja, have continued to count their losses following the violence that engulfed the area on Christmas Day.
The Bwari market was burnt down as a result of the clash between Gbagi and Hausa youth which left at least three people dead, according to officials.
Some residents and traders who spoke with PREMIUM TIMES said they lost all their property.
Blessing Ezeh, a fashion designer in her late 30s, said she lost all her savings to the violence including all her customers’ clothes.
With tears in her eyes, Ms. Ezeh said, “All my life was in that shop. My money, my machines, my customers clothes, everything got burnt.
“The big laces my customers are supposed to collect before the New Year, children clothes, children school uniforms for next term are all gone. My life is empty right now”, she said 
Sunny, a sales boy, said he still thanks God for His mercy on his employer.
He said, “My oga (boss) has two shops, one big one and the other one is small but the fire only destroyed the small one completely. It did not affect the big one at all. Though we lost ‘plenty things’ in the small shop. We just finished stocking the big shop on 23rd, so we thank God,” he said 
Another trader who identified himself as Danny lamented in pidgin: “This Hausa people don destroy my life finish. Dem don kill me”.
Explaining his plight to our reporter, Danny said, “I lost over ’15 million’ to the fire disaster. I don’t know anything about the fight between the Hausa and Gbagi but I have to pay the price. What will I do now? I have a wife, children, parents and siblings, all depending on me. Now I have to start all over again. Madam journalist, please help me beg the government to help me before I die, please my daughter”, he said.
According to a resident of the area, the violence started on Christmas Eve after a Hausa man reportedly killed a Gbagi man. In a bid for revenge, the Gbagis residing in the area burnt down the Bwari market on Monday, the resident said, seeking anonymity for fear of reprisal.
Another witness, who identified herself as Bimbo, said there has been tension between Hausas and Gbagis in the area for a while.
“But the cause of this fight is because a Gbagi man was killed last night. Right now, all the Hausas in this area are running towards Kaduna area because of the fear of getting killed,” she said.
On Tuesday, a day after the Christmas Day violence, soldiers, policemen and even naval officers were seen patrolling the community.
Members of the community were also reluctant to go out of their houses, some because of the fear of another attack while others said there were no vehicles to convene them.
It is not certain if any arrest has been made as the FCT command police spokesperson, Anjuguri Mamzah, did not pick his call as at the time of filing this report.
Meanwhile, following the clash, the Federal Capital Territory Administration, FCTA, Minister, Musa Bello, imposed a dusk to dawn curfew on the troubled community.

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