IT started with Crushed tomatoes that led to the murder. Since then, it has escalated into a clash that claimed the lives of at least 20 people and a conflict between the north and the south that paralyzed Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country.
Last month, a porter carrying a basket of tomatoes accidentally spilled cargo at a crowded Shasha market in the city of Ibadan in southwestern Nigeria, leaving a pulpy mess. Discussions with nearby shopkeepers over cleanup quickly underwent an ethnic shift. The Hausa-speaking language (a language that identifies him as coming from the north of Nigeria) was hit by the Yoruba people. When Porter counterattacked, his perpetrator collapsed and was fatally hit.
Rumors soon spread on social media that Yoruba people were killed in the heart of Yoruba’s land, raising long-smoldering tensions in a country divided primarily north of Muslims and south of Christians. For hours after that, Hausa and Yoruba merchants hacked each other and burned down market stalls. It is believed that at least 20 people were killed. Thousands, most of them northern, were forced to flee.
The clash broke out along religious and ethnic boundaries and after years of heightened tensions between (mainly Christian) peasants and (mainly Muslim) nomads. International Crisis Group, NGOThe battle between farmers and herders for access to land is estimated to have killed more than 1,300 people in the first six months of 2018. Recent data are sparse, but many Nigerians believe that the conflict has intensified and has taken a new form. Since December, kidnapper gangs have attacked three schools, snatching hundreds of children and demanding a ransom. The kidnappers have not been identified or arrested, but many Nigerians believe that they are Hausa-speaking nomads, right or wrong.
Instead of softening ethnic hatred, politicians are fueling it. Last year, the governors of six southwestern states hired local militias to form a regional security force known as Operations. Amotechn (“Leopard” in Yoruba). These vigilante actors have been accused of atrocities and even murders. They reportedly killed 11 people in December and January. Also in January, Governor Ondo ordered thousands of nomads to blame the kidnapping and increase in bandits and leave a land reserve in his state. After the week expired, Yoruba mobs attacked nomads, killed some and destroyed their property.
In protest, northern merchants and cattle dealers blocked the flow of food and livestock to the south. The blockade is starting to bite. Few meat is sold in the normally bustling Mile 12 market in Lagos, Nigeria’s largest city and commercial center.Tomato price (essential to make it spicy Jollof rice The number of Nigerian unofficial local dishes (rice) has skyrocketed. The basket, which used to sell for about 5,000 naira ($ 13), is now selling for 35,000 naira. In the north, where most of the country’s fresh food is grown, onion and tomato prices have plummeted, causing many farmers to rot their crops in the fields.
The government has since called on the military to open a corridor where trucks can move. And after major espionage agencies “invited” blockade leaders to discuss their dissatisfaction, traders stopped their protests and food again south before immediately detaining their president. I agreed to allow it to flow to.
It is not clear whether the government has agreed to protesters’ demands, including compensation for the murdered people and police protection for northerners in the southern states. But what is clear is that Nigeria, like rotten tomatoes, needs a better way to prevent its fierce dissatisfaction from exploding. ■■
This article was published in the printed Middle East and Africa section under the heading “Tomato Ceasefire”.
Tomato Ceasefire-How a Basket of Spilled Tomatoes Paralyzed Nigeria | Middle East and Africa
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