1st September, 2011
Traders at Irepodun market Ikotun, Lagos state, southwest, Nigeria, have dragged the leadership of their market to Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, for allegedly defrauding the traders to the tune of N900M under false pretence.
The alleged fraud was allegedly committed through the use of a forged document purportedly issued by the Lagos State government.
P.M.NEWS investigation revealed that the state government did not authorise anybody to collect levies on its behalf.
The protesting traders alleged that their executives forged business certificate in the name of Lagos state government and compelled each trader in the market to pay between N1,000 to N2,000 for the purchase of the certificate.
The traders claimed that they were about 10,000 members.
Apart from allegedly forging the certificate which bears the letterhead of Lagos State Government, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, tagged â€œenterprising identification certificateâ€, they were also made to pay all sort of levies purportedly on the orders of the Lagos State government to defraud the traders.
On inquiry in the Ministry of Commerce, the traders discovered that the certificate was forged. This sparked off protest in the market.
The traders demanded that all the illegal levies collected from them should be accounted for. They closed their shops and went on the streets to protest the alleged fraud.
Some of the allegations against the executive include the imposition of levy of N1,500 on each trader in the market for the installation of electric transformer which was donated by the Lagos State Government free of charge.
They also claimed that each of the over 10, 000 members paid N2,000 for waste disposal vehicle yet no vehicle was bought and no account was rendered.
The traders claimed that all other levies imposed on the traders were not accounted for and when a trader asked the leaders any question about the levies , such trader will be thoroughly beaten up by the thugs in the market.
In his reaction, the leader of the market, Alhaji Sikru Ambliu also known as Saudi denied the allegations.
He said that most of the protesting traders were mainly the Igbos who are planning to take over the leadership of the market from him.
He explained that the police have waded into the matter hoped that it will be amicably settled.
P.M.NEWS investigations at the Lagos State secretariat showed that the forged document did not emanate from the Ministry of Commerce.