THE fragile peace that was brokered last week between traders at the Ladipo Auto Spare Parts market and some hoodlums claiming to seize ownership of a section of the market known as Odo Aladura community was shattered yesterday as traders went on rampage, shutting down the market.
The traders had gathered in solidarity to protest against the death of one of their own, who was brutalised during a renewed clash with hoodlums on Tuesday. However, a combined team of police and soldiers were immediately drafted to the area to forestall any violent clash.
One of the traders, Anene Otazi, was shot on Tuesday and was rushed to the hospital, where he died early on Thursday. He was for days in critical condition at the University of Lagos Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi Araba, where doctors battled to remove pellets from his body, following the gun shot wounds he sustained.
The news of Otazi’s death sparked off instant anger from his colleagues, who mobilised themselves and began to protest round the market, chanting war songs.
Chairman of the Odo Aladura Traders’ Union in Ladipo, Mr. Chukwuma Uroko, blamed the hoodlums for the constant attacks on traders. Uroko said many traders were attacked with machetes and suffered gun shot wounds.
He said the leader of the thugs brought caterpillars for the exercise and ordered the drivers to demolish the structures with traders’ goods inside the shops. “When the traders could not bear the attacks and intimidation, we resisted and chased them away after they had inflicted injuries on many of the traders.”
Uroko appealed to both the Mushin Local Council and the state government to call the hoodlums to order .
For the past one week, tension has been brewing at the Odo-Aladura section of the market following a failed attempt to demolish over 2,000 shops. Fracas broke out after hundreds of thugs invaded the market with arms and two caterpillars, who attacked the traders and attempted to demolish the shops.
The traders, who were caught unawares, fought back the thugs and chased them away after many were injured on both sides.
The Guardian investigation revealed that the cause of the fight was a lingering land tussle between Owoyemi family and Odo-Aladura community over the ownership of the land the traders rented.
It was gathered that Owoyemi family won at the Lagos State High Court but the judgment was immediately appealed and the case is still pending at the court.
However, since the case is pending in court, the traders had refused to pay rents to either parties, pending the conclusion of the matter at the court.
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