Ladipo traders protest alleged plan to take over market
Aguiyi Ironsi International Market Traders Association, Ladipo, Mushin Local Government Area of Lagos at the weekend protested against the alleged plan to take over the market by the Mushin local authorities.
The placard-carrying traders, numbering about 700 called on the Lagos State governor, Babajide Sanwo-olu, to wade in and stop the proposed move to install a caretaker committee on the market by the council chairman, Emmanuel Bamigboye.
Chairman of the market unit, Emmanuel Mbamara, said: “I was elected to office two years ago and my tenure would have expired in March, but while we were making arrangements to conduct election, the world was hit with the COVID-19 pandemic, there was lockdown and the market was closed.
“When the law of restriction was lifted, we wanted to do the election, but the LGA chairman warned that we should respect the law on restrictions, so we started looking for possible ways to do the election, 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.
“Some persons for their selfish interests instigated the local authorities to constitute a caretaker committee to take over 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 the social distancing protocol in place, the Board of Trustees and traders have said we should continue until it is convenient to do election. We don’t understand why the council wants to bring in non-members of our market to start running our market.”
But a source at the council said the market leader secretly went to court and obtained judgment to elongate his tenure, which elapsed on August 14, so as not to conduct a fresh election citing COVID-19 precautionary measures as excuse against the constitution of the union, which stipulates that election must be conducted or caretaker committee constituted.
According to the source, to prevent a vacuum, the Mushin Local Government authorities summoned a stakeholders’ meeting where it was agreed that a caretaker committee will be constituted, which will conduct a free and fair election after the COVID-19 lockdown.
“Other executive members accepted the resolution of the council except the chairman, Mbamara, who was not yet prepared to vacant his position and besides has pending cases concerning the union’s money with the police.
“Since the decision was reached to constitute a Caretaker Committee to take over the affairs of the market pending the election on Monday, Mbamara has been going round the market blackmailing the Mushin Local Government authorities, misleading the traders that the council wants to take over the market while inciting the traders to resist the move so that he will continue as chairman.”
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