Tension in Trade Fair over alleged police invasion to foist new leadership
Tension is high at the Balogun Business Association (BBA), Trade Fair Complex along Lagos/Badagry Expressway, Lagos following reports that suspected breakaway members of the association will storm the market today with police to enforce a purported court order foisting unrecognized members as leaders in the market.
The unrecognised members of the market are said to be led by a former leader in the market who had dragged the present leadership to police stations and courts with a view to enthroning his sympathizers as leaders in the market.
This move was seen by majority of the traders as a contravention of subsisting orders and decisions of the Federal High Court irked traders in the market who were informed that plans had been concluded with the police to allegedly foist illegal officers on them prompting their resolve to resist the attempt by all means.
Already, it was gathered that all the warring factions in the market are poised for a showdown with the police today and the unknown members of their association whom they alleged vowed to use police illegally to take over their leadership.
Sources said the new phase of the crisis that had been rocking the market association.
This started after the former leader in the market allegedly took some loyalists of the association to an obscure area outside the market and purportedly conducted an election in which unpopular and unrecognized persons were purportedly elected as leaders of the association to the chagrin of other members who felt his reign had lapsed and therefore, conducting an election outside the market runs contrary to the constitution of the association.
The election was conducted despite a ruling by the Federal High Court, Abuja in July 2021, stating that such action should not be done in lawsuit No.FHC/ABJ/CS/451/2021.
Sources in the market alleged that the former leader was embarking on such division amongst the leaders in the market with a view to perpetuate himself as a life trustee of the association as well as continue to have access to the finances of the association the way he used to when he served as President of the association.
One of the sources said that when the former leader noticed that he was going to face a stiff resistance from the association and its incumbent management, he resorted to using the Nigeria Police Force to have his way prompting the association and its incumbent management to file another lawsuit against the Police in Suit No.FHC/ABJ/579/2021 in which Chief Ezeibe and others are now also Defendants.
The legally constituted leaders of the market were said to have filed suits at the federal High court after which an order was given directing the Police to ensure that nothing is done to tamper with or interfere in the subject matter of the suit. The decisions of the court are said to be subsisting up till the time of this report.
However, reports said the unknown members of the market approached the police to help them enforce illegal election, but the Chief Anselm Dunu-led legally constituted Caretaker Committee, with the support of the vast majority of the membership of the association who has been engaging with the Nigeria Police Force until the recent developments of the rumored plans to invade the market in the early morning hours of today and forcibly seize the market and the Secretariat of the association and illegally install the leader of the unknown members in office.
When contacted, Chief Anselm Dunu, the incumbent Chairman of the Caretaker Committee of the association said that the association and its incumbent management led by him has repeatedly extended a hand of fellowship to the breakaway members, calling them to join hands with the rest of the association to move the association forward and conduct credible election of new officers.
The association, he said, calls on the Area Commander of Area E Command to steer clear and not interfere with ongoing judicial proceedings at the Federal High Court, Abuja, and at the Court of Appeal, particularly the appeal at the Court of Appeal against the ruling of Justice Ogunjobi of the Lagos State High Court of 5th May,2022 and the pending motion for stay of execution pending determination of the appeal, stay of proceedings in the suit pending determination of the appeal, and injunction pending determination of the appeal.
Efforts made to speak with Lagos state police spokesman failed as he did not pick his calls. However, police sources said the command will ensure that their men will be at alert to forestall any breakdown of law and order in the market.