5th August, 2010
The leadership crisis rocking the Aguiyi Ironsi International Trade Centre, Ladipo Market, Mushin, Lagos, Nigeria has taken another dimension with the arrest of the opposition leaders and their transfer to Abuja by the police.
Some of the opposition leaders taken to Abuja included Okey Imo and Obi Obele.
Some of the traders, it was learnt, have also petitioned the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) accusing the president of the market union of mismanaging N200m.
The arrest of the two leaders, investigations revealed, was in connection with the petition written by the embattled president of the market union, Chief Jonathan Okoli, to the Inspector-General of Police against some traders opposed to his leadership.
There was fracas in the market recently when some traders revolted against the leadership of Chief Okoli, accusing him of defrauding the traders in his dealings with the Mushin Local Government Area and the Lagos State government.
The aggrieved traders accused Chief Okoli of turning the association into his private business.
According to them, the association makes N5 million every month on levy paid on containers entering the market, apart from other levies.
Trouble started when the leadership imposed N5,000 levy on every shop in the market. The market has about 2,000 shops.
While the union president claimed that the levy was for trade permit and auto dealer’s licence approved by the Lagos State government, the traders rejected it and accused the leadership of mismanagement.
To substantiate their allegations, the traders went to the Mushin Local Government Area where they discovered that out of over N22 million collected last year, the president paid a paltry N1 million to Mushin Local Government and N2 million to the Lagos State government.
The union president, it was learnt, could not account for over N28 million.
To compel the traders to pay the money, the union president reportedly brought some people to collect the money.
The people he brought to collect the money started locking shops of erring traders and this resulted in a serious fracas during which many traders sustained injuries.