Aguiyi Ironsi International Market Traders Association, Ladipo, Mushin Local Government Area ,Lagos ,at the weekend protested the planned take over of the market by the Mushin Local Government.
The placard carrying traders, numbering about 7,000 called on Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwolu, to he Mushin LGA chairman, Mr Emmanuel Gbgangboye to order and stop his proposed move to install and force a caretaker committee on the market.
The protesters with placards which reads: ‘Leave our market in peace and not in pieces’, we are okay with the leadership of our market’, we don’t need Area boys to run the affairs of our market’, stop the plan to destabilise our market’, Stop plans to create problems, we don’t need strangers to run our market’ , we will resist any hoodlums or group that wants to cause problem in our market , LGA Chairman should obey court order;” pleaded with Sanwo-Olu to urgently intervene as they would not want anarchy in the market.
Chairman of the market unit , Mr Emmanuel Mbamara, spoke during the protest, saying: ” I was elected into office two years ago and my tenure would have expired on March ,but while we were making arrangements to conduct election, the world was hit with the COVID-19 pandemic and there was lockdown and the market was closed down. When the law on restriction of movement was lifted, we wanted to conduct the election,but the LGA Chairman warned that we should respect the law on restrictions ,so we started looking for possible ways to have the elections done , but we are yet to find solution because of social distancing. We still called on the LGA to give us permission and security ,but the Chairman said it was not possible to conduct election .
“Three people who for their selfish interest started instigating the Chairman to constitute a caretaker committee, to run the affairs of the market. They took us to the court, but the court gave us three months to conduct election. The three months have not expired and with social distancing, the Board of Trustees and the traders, said we should continue till it is convenient to conduct election. We don’t understand why the LGA Chairman wants to bring in non members of our market to run the affairs of our market . We are registered with the corporate Affairs commission and we don’t have crisis in the market. Let me put the record straight, we are not afraid to have an election.
“If the LGA Chairman should give us permission to disobey social distancing order and provide us with security ,we will conduct election . But as it is, traders, BOT and other elders in the market are behind the executive; the market is peaceful, so we are still at loss why the LGA Chairman wants to force strengers on is. We sincerely appeal to Sanwolu to intervene immediately”.
Legal adviser to the Market, Mr Obiora Umeh who took over the narratives ,said:” We have our constitution and it clearly stated that ten weeks before the expiration of the executive tenure , a caretaker committee will be set up, while the executive will step outside. Then we will notify the Police , Department of the State Security (DSS), LGA and observers who will come for the election but if anything hinders the election, a 19-man committee will be constituted to take over the affairs of the market. But the COVID-19 pandemic scattered all our programme.
“The BOT has asked the executive to continue till things return to normal .The LGA has no powers to and right bring in caretaker committee who are not members of the union to run the affairs of the market.We have written to the LGA, telling them that the traders are peaceful. There is a court order that the executive should continue, then why should the LGA counter the order of the Court. We are calling on Sanwo-Olu to wade into the matter”.
BOT chairman, Mr Innocent Ejike, while calling on his members to remain peaceful, said: The BOT has met, and discover that we cannot conduct election under COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing order, we were thinking of electronic voting,but it is not feasible, so we resolved that the executive that is still doing well should continue till we are able to find solution. The market is peaceful, so let the LGA Chairman leave is alone and not bringing confusion in the peaceful market. No trader is complaining and everything is moving on well.
“We shall resist the LGA Chairman with legal battle if he continues with the threat to bring illegality to the market. No body is above the law, so he should respect the law and leave a peaceful market where thousands of the people get their daily living. Market is not an ordinary office that anybody run its affairs”.