A brewing clash between Yoruba-Igbo have taken another level leading to the governor shutting down the Alaba International Market on Wednesday, 19th October, 2022.
Alaba International market is an electronics market located in Ojo, Lagos State, Nigeria. It is the largest electronics market in Nigeria. Though other businesses are done there.
It was shut down on Wednesday in protest against illegal levies by the Lagos State Government ‘unofficial’ tax collectors (Agberos). This led to traders clash with thugs over extortion.
He said, “Trouble started when the new Chairman of the Alaba Electronic Union ordered the thugs otherwise known as Agbero to stop the collecting of various levies imposed on motorists coming into the market.” A trader said.
“The thugs in turn told the new union chairman that the former chairman sold the collection of levies to them at the cost of N16 million.
“The new chairman, however, because of complaints from traders over extortions and illegal levies from the thugs, asked them to stop the collection. He asked them to tell him the balance of the money paid to his predecessor so that he can pay them back but they refused.
Website Designing/Management/Social Media – Iyanu Victor
“So, on Tuesday, the thugs came to continue the illegal collection but they were resisted and chased away. Because of that, traders were advised not to open their shops today because of fear that they will mobilise to attack traders. This afternoon (Wednesday afternoon), those thugs mobilised and came to the market with various types of guns.”
“They even overpowered soldiers and policemen sent to the market to ensure peace. They shot two persons, and they were rushed to the hospital. I don’t know the state of their health. The shooting of the two traders angered the traders to mobilise to chase them out of the market.
“As we speak, the entire Alaba market is in turmoil. We are keeping vigilant so that the hoodlums will not come back to burn down the electronic section of the market,” the trader who gave his name as Chinedu Ede told news men.
Certified French Tutor in Nigeria with Years of Experience – Ms Blessing Akpan
Videos of the clash on Wednesday show hundreds of traders chasing the alleged hoodlums out of the market.
In one of the videos, a trader suspected to have been shot by the hoodlums could be seen as he was being taken away in a wheelbarrow.
Along with one of the videos posted on Twitter, the account user wrote, “Alaba international market taskforce fighting with Tinubu boys agberoo. They keep increasing charges per truck, buses, riders, etc. No work, no food. Stop the extortion in Lagos. Hard earned money not for agbero. Sanitation, power, security all individually sorted. Agberoo again?”
It must be noted that the Alaba International Market is mostly occupied by Igbos from South-East Nigeria. Since the announcement of Bola Tinubu presidency there have been unbalance between them and their host – the Yoruba’s.
Though many historically-aware Yorubas and Igbos are avoiding this divide and rule oozing clash, some others have chosen to be oblivion. Some have even made it their duty to compose dirty inciting articles that makes one tribe look like slaves and another as masters instead of brothers and sisters.
Recently the Awories – ‘real founders of Lagos’ were dragged into it but no official statement have been made in that regard.
Spokesperson for Lagos State Police Command, Benjamin Hundeyin said normalcy had been restored in the area.
He also said there was no evidence that casualties were recorded.
Hundeyin, who confirmed the clash said the police and other security agencies restored normalcy at the market.
“Normalcy was restored but no casualties recorded, nor arrest made.
Several people sustained various degree of injuries in the process.
Moreso, in a bid to disperse the protesting athletes policemen from Lagos Command released several cannisters of teargas at the protesters.
Both incidents led to gridlock. As a result, residents alerted the police for intervention and to persuade the demonstrators to leave the road.
However, when the police arrived after all entreaties to leave the road proved abortive, resorted to firing teargas canisters at the protesters.
An eyewitnesses blamed the policemen for allowing the situation to degenerate into chaos, as the protest was initially peaceful until the police’s intervention.
Other Pressing Issues
Another trader, Iheanacho said, “It all started on Tuesday evening when the market leaders mobilised the task force and some traders to chase away the touts, who were operating at the market.”
He added that “The problem continued this morning when the ‘agberos’ regrouped and mobilized their members from other places to the market to attack the task force and the traders.”
Another trader, who identified himself as Josy Nwankwo said “We are traders and we keep our environment clean. We do environmental sanitation every Thursday, and that is why we don’t attend to customers till after 10 am on the day set outside for the cleaning exercise, but we noticed that the Agberos keep littering the road.”
He added that We have public toilets that we pay for and use when we are pressed, but the touts would defecate and urinate anywhere. The Local Government workers would be blaming the traders for the mess caused by the Agberos.
“So, we decided that they should leave the market for us. We had a series of meetings with the leadership of the motor park, but they refused to make a change, hence we decided that enough is enough that they must leave us.”
The trader also stated that “We now chased them away because it is because of the Market that they have a motor park in the market. This morning, they stormed the market with dangerous weapons, shouting that we should leave for our states and leave Lagos for them. ”
“We are calling on the State Government to wade into the issue and educate the Ojo local government councils on what to do. On our part, we are organised and we have a task force that goes around to implement discipline, but the touts don’t have, yet they won’t adhere to simple instruction of cleanliness and orderliness,” the trader said.
Meanwhile, leadership of the Alaba International Market on Thursday claimed it shut down the market following Wednesday’s clash between traders and tax collectors.
Justifying the shutdown, Alaba International Amalgamated Traders Association said the need to protect lives and properties informed their decision to shut down the market.
“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 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”.
Watch Video Below;