10th May, 2012
The Lagos State House of Assembly has ordered the immediate dissolution of the Jonathan Okoli-led traders’ association of the Aguiyi Ironsi Trade Centre, popularly called Ladipo Spare Parts Market.
The House, which relied on the Constitutional powers conferred on Local Governments, by Section 1 (e) of Schedule 4 of the 1999 Constitution, mandated the Mushin Local Government to announce the dissolution of what the members described as “the outdated executive council of Traders Association of Aguiyi Ironsi Trade Centre presently led by Jonathan Okoli.”
The order was given by the State House of Assembly after members of the House adopted the report of the House Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Public Petitions which investigated the petition sent by the embattled Okoli.
In the petition titled: Re-Illegal Closure of Market, Mr. Okoli, paraded himself as the president of the association and informed the members that the market had been closed down since 23 December , 2011 and requested for its re-opening.
He had accused Paramo Development Ventures, Mushin Local Government and the State Ministry of The Environment, saying they illegally brought their powers upon him and the association for political reasons.
The House, in the adoption of the report, also approved the setting up of a Caretaker/Management Committee for the trade centre consisting of three representatives each of the Jonathan Okoli group, Okechukwu Imoh group, Paramo Ventures and Mushin Local Government to be constituted and inaugurated immediately.
The House said the Caretaker Committee is expected to take charge of the affairs of the market, maintain peace and conduct a free and fair election of a new executive within three months from the date of its inauguration.
While presenting the report during the plenary session, Sanai Agunbiade, Chairman of the committee, explained that in view of Article 9, Section 1 of the Constitution of Aguiyi Ironsi International Trade Centre Traders Association upon which Jonathan Okoli was elected and further to paragraph 9 of Jonathan Okoli’s inaugural speech of 7 April, 2007 more so that there has been no other election since 2007 up till date, it was deemed that Jonathan Okoli’s tenure had ended.
The report therefore stopped Okoli and his executive council from parading themselves as elected representatives of Aguiyi Ironsi International Trade Centre Trade Association.
Agunbiade told his colleagues that persons identified and named by the warring parties in the dispute as the arrow-heads and ring leaders of the crisis should not be allowed to participate in either the Joint Sanitation Committee, Caretaker/ Market Management Committee or stand for any office in the forthcoming election.
It was also recommended in the report that appreciable number of men of the Rapid Response Squad (RRS) be dispatched and stationed in and around the market from the time of the inauguration of the caretaker committee till the time a new executive council is sworn in while the persons so far identified be made to sign an undertaking to ensure that peace reigns in the market. “Should there be any break down of law and order in the market subsequently, the State Government should endeavour to close down the market indefinitely, revoke the lease agreement in respect of the market and prosecute any and all persons reasonably suspected to be mastermind of such crisis,” the report warned.
To ensure effective sanitation in the market, the state lawmakers through the report asked Mushin Local Government to constitute a Joint Sanitation Committee (JSC) comprising of three representatives of the Local Government, three representatives of Paramo Development Ventures and two representatives each from the two factions of the trade association as they presently exist.
The House also ordered that no individual or group of individuals should collect levies in any form or under any pretext except the levies prescribed by the laws of the state, those provided in the lease agreement there-in stated and those to be charged by the in-coming management committee.
The House frowned at Okoli’s admittance that he attempted to change the name of the association, noting that it was unilaterally done without consultation with other stakeholders.
The committee also found the roles and antics of some Local Government officials designated to superintend remittance of the collected fees and levies due to the local government from the market not tidy. Members who contributed during the presentation of the report commended the committee for a job well done and warned the parties concerned in the dispute to sheathe their sword and abide by the resolution of the House.