Barring last minute intervention by relevant authorities, monumental mayhem may happen in the Computer Village, Ikeja, Lagos State, as small-scale traders popularly known as Area boys operating in the market and touts allegedly brought by the lyaloja (woman market leader) are set to draw blood.
Investigation by Sunday Sun reporter revealed that the object of contention is a container that has been in the market for over 18 years and served as shops for the small-scale traders.
But now, touts that were allegedly brought by the Iyaloja are forcing the traders that are making use of the container to register with them with the sum of N10,000 or they would be evicted from it.
However, the traders have said that they would not succumb to the intimidation and have even gone ahead to hire the service of a lawyer to protect their interest.
Samson Etim, a phone accessories dealer in the container said that he has been doing business there for over 10 years now without any problem with any authority until the emergence of the Iyaloja and Babaloja.
According to him, most of the traders who are making use of the container are youths from different parts of the country who have decided to help themselves legally instead of going into crime in the face of gross unemployment.
He said that the governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu should call the Iyaloja to order, adding that by the way she is going, the peace that has been reigning in the market may become elusive.
His words: “My name is Samson Etim, I am from Ugep in Cross River State and a graduate of University of Calabar. I am one of the occupants of the container that the Iyaloja has sent touts to come and extort us N10,000 each in the name of registration. What are we registering for? The total worth of what I am selling is not up to N100,000. Since they brought her into this market, it has been one problem after another because of the way she is going about extorting money from the traders. Computer Village has been peaceful before she came. But now, it is turning into a war zone. Governor Sanwo-Olu should call her to order. If not, she will bring bad name to his government. It is because we are law abiding that we have to hire a lawyer, if not many people would have died going by the way the touts that she brought have been intimidating us.”
In his contribution, another occupant of the container, John Jerry also called on the governor to intervene before law and order would break down in the market.
According to him, the youths in the market are just struggling to survive in the face of economic downturn.
He said that rather being discouraged with extortion, they should be given hope.
“To be honest, these touts that the Iyaloja brought into the market are biting more than they can chew. There is a limit to patience. The touts are pushing us to the wall and one day we will give them what they want. In their minds, they think that we are cowards and that is why we hired a lawyer to seek redress. But I want to assure them that if they don’t retrace their steps, the charm that they so much believe in will disappoint them,” he said.
Ekwulobia Urban Market 2nd largest in Anambra –Nnofu
David Onwuchekwa, Nnewi
In Anambra State, Ekwulobia Urban Market in Aguata Local Government Area is second to the largest market in the state with over 10,000 traders and allied workers plying their trade there.
This was the claim of the executive Chairman of Ekwulobia Traders and Allied Workers Association, Hon Eberechukwu Nnofu as he articulated the achievements of his leadership and problems of the association in his first tenure that ended in 2018, as well as second tenure of four years he has started serving.
The chairman boasted that his market was one of the most peaceful in Anambra without any pending court case as it was common at some other markets.
He told our reporter that the union was one of the beneficiaries of Governor Willie Obiano’s N10 million market development fund judiciously channeled to construction of the association’s permanent secretariat.
In his first tenure, Nnofu said his administration led series of protests when they got information that Boko Haram prisoners were brought to Ekwulobia Prisons.
He explained that reasons for the protests were that as long as their customers knew that the dreaded insurgents were being held at a prison existing in a town where one of the largest markets was sited, the tendency would be for them to divert to other markets they deemed safe.
He said that would have brought economic hardship to the traders and allied workers.
“We stood our ground and eventually the Federal Government transferred them to other prisons. We know the implications of having such deadly terrorists in our midst,” he explained.
Nnewi building material dealers blame building collapse on owners, state agencies
David Onwuchekwa, Nnewi
Dealers in building materials, especially cement and iron rods in Nnewi, Anambra State, have named Material Testing Agency (MTA), Anambra State Urban Development Board (ASUDEB) and building owners as the agencies and people to be held responsible in an event of building collapse.
Chairman of Nnewi Building Materials Dealers Association, Chief Uzochukwu Anyadiegwu told our reporter that those who pointed accusing fingers to dealers in building materials over incessant building collapse did so in error.
He said that traders at the building material section of Nkwo Nnewi market had always observed quality standard as recommended by the Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON) and would not compromise while ordering their goods.
“It is a big lie that we contribute to building collapse. Some building owners engage bricklayers to handle their building contracts from foundation to finish. And these are non-professionals. Tell me why such a building will not collapse.
“Again some building owners will tell a building engineer to use 12-millimeter iron rod where 16-millimeter iron rod size is required. And so you find out that building owners contribute to over 90 per cent causes of building collapse,” he said.
He explained that some of the times a building owner would lay a foundation for a two-storey house and would half way through decide to have three-storey building on the foundation.
He said that if the MTA and ASUDEB did their job very well, all sharp practices would be checkmated before they caused havoc.
He also announced that his association had settled for N50,000 penalty for anybody caught in an act of “re-bagging” any brand of cement in the market.