Why We Shut Down Alaba Market –Traders
Traders and the leadership of Alaba International Market have opened up on why they shut the prime market.
On Thursday, the leadership of the market said they “shut down the market following Wednesday’s clash between traders and tax collectors.”
The action followed fracas in the market where yet to be ascertained lives were lost and many others injured on Wednesday as the traders and Agbero (touts who act as tax collectors) clashed at the Alaba International Market, in the Ojo Local Government Area of Lagos State.
Reports and video coverage confirmed that dangerous weapons were employed and freely used in the bloody clash.
A report in The Punch, for example, quoted a statement on Thursday, by the Alaba International Amalgamated Traders association as saying they resolved to shut the market because of “the need to protect lives and properties.”
The market leadership said: “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.
“Traders who cannot afford or who hesitate to pay are either beaten up or wounded. Sadly enough, only yesterday 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! The Alaba International Market Traders Association has decided to shut down the entire market till further notice to avoid further loss of lives and property and will remain shut till:
“These criminals are arrested and brought to justice. The Removal of all kiosks/petty traders causing blockade along Alaba international market road. That all toll collection points will be at the Volkswagen bus stop and the chemists’ bus stop. The Reduction in outrageous fees collected from containers, trucks, and other vehicles,”.
Chibueze Nnadi, a trader in Alaba, told NewsOrient that “enough is enough. We cannot continue to labour so hard only for some touts to come and illegally collect our efforts. This is an unbearable cheating. It is good to shut down Alaba and openly resolve this Agbero menace issue,” he said.
Photo: The Guardian