NIGERIA: Lagos traders protest extortion, threat of market closure

Alaba Suru traders during the protestTraders of Suru-Alaba Market, located along Lagos-Badagry Express Way, on Monday,  stormed Alausa, Lagos State seat of power to protest against what they described as extortion and threat to close and re-construct the market.

The traders, made up mostly of women, who came in their hundreds, arrived at Alausa in six coaster buses, chanting solidarity songs and calling on the state government to rescue them from extortion by some market leaders through collection of levies. The traders are also demanding that government should clarify the claim that the market had been earmarked for reconstruction when, in actual, fact they have already concluded plans to fence the market as it is being done in other markets along the expressway.

They said the market leaders were not carrying the traders union leadership along in the course of entering meeting and making decisions  as stipulated in their constitution.

Speaking to newsmen, the spokesman for the traders, Mr Albert Ezenwa, accused the market leaders of not adhering to the rules which stipulated that all heads of union of the market are automatic members of the apex committee and should be part of any meeting process.

“Since after their appointment as new leaders of the market committee last year, they have not allowed the union heads to be part of their meetings. They hold meetings without the union heads  and refuse to carry us along on important decisions that affect we the traders.

The irony of it is that sixty percent of these leaders are not traders. They just come to the market  and sit under a canopy throughout the day,” Albert stated. He argued that there was never a time they discussed about re-construction of the market, stressing that the plan they had was to fence the market as it was being done in Orile Market, located on the same expressway with Alaba Suru Market.

“We are here particularly with the news making the rounds  about the reconstruction of the market because we do not want to be caught unawares. We want to hear from the horse’s mouth which is Lagos State government,” Albert said.

Meanwhile, some of the traders, who spoke to our correspondent, were afraid that the idea to reconstruct the market was the handiwork of the market leaders who wanted them to deprive them of their shops and  later come up with obnoxious prices which they won’t be able to afford.

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