Tijani Ishola Afeez Okikiola
At least three persons have died in Oyo Town following gunshots by the police after people protested the failure of the firefighters in the town to stop a ravaging fire Sunday morning, witnesses said.
The fire razed Oyo central commercial area, Akesan Market, almost entirely, leaving only a few shops and a filling station, witnesses, including two traders who suffered losses, said.
According to our reporter on ground the fire was said to have started around 2 a.m. However, the fire service, whose station is just opposite the market or some 20 metres away, could not respond.
People who spoke with FRANSPANEWS as the fire was raging said the fire fighters complained their equipment was not functioning.
Meanwhile, at around 6 a.m., response came from Ogbomosho, 50 kilometres away and the fire fighters were mobilized to stop the Akesan-Oyo fire.
“All Akesan has been razed,” a witness said. “It is only the filling station that is yet to be affected.”
But angry residents started protesting at the gate of the fire station in Oyo and were said to have made a fire with used tyres.
In response, police operatives attached to ‘Operation Burst’ started firing gunshots, which claimed the lives of at least three persons.
“Three persons have now been killed but they have left with the remains of one,” one witness said. Two more persons confirmed, PREMIUM TIMES reports.
As at the time of this report, the fire fighters from Ogbomoso were still trying to stop the fire which has completely razed down the entire market – see the photographs sent in by one of our reporters at the scene of the unfortunate incident.
According to PREMIUM TIMES the police spokesperson for Oyo State, Gbenga Fadeyi, initially denied the police involvement in the shootings.
“I have called and can confirm there was no police shooting and nobody died,” he said. But when told there were pictures contrary to his claim, he said, “I will intensify efforts and make calls again to confirm”