13th March, 2012
The chairman of Mushin Local Governemnt, Lagos State, southwest Nigeria, Mr. Babatunde Adepitan, has raised an alarm over the influx of illegal arms and thugs at Aguiyi Ironsi International Trade Centre, Ladipo Market in Mushin Lagos.
Adepitan stated this in Lagos during a press conference organised by the council on the crisis at the market.
He alleged that the former chairman of Aguiyi Ironsi International Centre, Ladipo market Mushin, Chief Jonathan Okoli, was behind the stockpiling of arms in the market and hiring of thugs called Bakassi Boys from the southeast.
The chairman, who was attacked last week by thugs allegedly sent by one of the embattled market leaders, noted that because of the proliferation of arms and thuggery in the market, the security of the market and its environs has been compromised.
He explained the genesis of the crisis in the market, which he traced to 2008 when Okoli’s tenure elapsed as president of the market.
“He refused to conduct election and hand over power,” Adepitan stated.
He said because Okoli refused to conduct an election and hand over power, the market was thrown into crisis, adding that he had tried his best to settle the rift and restore lasting peace in the market to no avail.
Adepitan regreted that when peace was about to be achieved, Okoli frustrated it. He said said the police are trying their best, but it appeared that their best was not good enough in solving the problem.
On the latest crisis, he said he went to the market to inform the traders the details of the MOU instituted by the Lagos State government, through the Ministry of the Environment.
He said when he entered the market, Okoli started making calls and brought the thugs who entered the market and attacked the traders who had come to the market because of the peace deal.
He said that they were shooting sporadically, brandishing their cutlasses and attacking those opposed to Okoli’s leadership. Several people were injured and are in various hospitals receiving treatment.
Adepitan said he has written to the state governor and various security agencies comprising the police, SSS and others to intervene in the matter because it was getting out of hand.
He said that even the security men comprising the police and soldiers were chased out of the market during the fracas.