Lagos: Following violent attacks on traders at Alaba International market on Wednesday by hoodlums, the Amalgamated Traders Association Council of Sectional Heads has shut down the market indefinitely and called on the Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu to intervene in the crisis at the market located in the Ojo area of the state.
Recall that there was a clash between traders and hoodlums on Wednesday. The hoodlums, under the auspices of the RTEAN, were accused of extorting traders.
At a press briefing on Thursday, Mr. Mbonu Udochukwu Geoffrey, President General, Alaba Amalgamated Traders Association, said the threat to security of lives and property at Alaba market calls for national concern as the market contributes “a sizable amount of revenue to the federal and state coffers through their unquantifiable international and local trade.”They said, “It will therefore be unwise to allow non-state actors like the operators of RTEAN/ PARK ADMINISTRATION to short change this national and state asset which houses several thousands of Big , Medium and Small scale businesses.
“Suffice it to also mention that traders are now vacating the market in droves as the complete blockage of the only Alaba road and the extreme extortion going on especially between Volkswagen bus stop and Alaba market is becoming so unbearable as traders are made to pay a fully cleared container or a truck a whooping sum of N70,000 to N100,000 before they can be allowed to convey their goods to the market; it is the same for those supplying goods from their warehouses.“For traders who cannot afford or who hesitate to pay are either beaten up or wounded. Sadly enough, only yesterday (Wednesday) we woke up to the information that a new loading point was to be instituted on the already constricted Alaba road which has already been taken over by petty traders who were given portions to display wares to the detriment of existing shop owners, also completely defacing this market of international repute.
“To ensure this issue was handled amicably, the Alaba amalgamated leaders quickly contacted the executive chairman of Ojo local government who promised to call them to order, we also contacted the interim caretaker committee chairman who also promised to call them to order but surprisingly on Tuesday the 19TH of October we were greeted with chaos in our market as hoodlums that we cannot quantify trooped into the market with guns, machete and other dangerous weapons; shooting and maiming both buyers and traders who are doing their legitimate business to the extent that some were killed and several other wounded.
“To this end we want to say enough is enough! We appeal to the executive governor of Lagos state his excellency Mr. Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu to intervene in this matter before it degenerates into a serious security issue- God forbid. The Alaba international market traders association have decided to shut down the entire market till further notice to avoid further loss of live and property and will remain shut till: these criminals are arrested and brought to justice; the removal of all kiosk/petty traders causing blockade along Alaba international market road; that all toll collection point will be at Volkswagen bus stop and chemists bus stop; the reduction in outrageous fees collected from containers, trucks and other vehicles.”
The traders thanked the executive chairman of Ojo Local Government and the security personnel who responded swiftly to the crisis in the market.