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Thursday, 21 January 2016

Lagos market traders protest invasion by NURTW


On January 7, 2016 some people who were thought to be members of the National Union of Road Transport Workers, NURTW invaded the  popular Ile-Epo Market in Abule Oke-Odo area of Lagos State with guns, cutlasses and broken bottles.

The touts shot sporadically and injured several traders traders and customers who tried to run for safety as the shooters allegedly made straight for some members of the Ile-Epo Central Market Union, inflicting bodily harm on them with their weapons.
Angered by this development, the traders recently stormed the office of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode to seek his immediate intervention and restore sanity to the market.

The traders stormed the Alausa office of the Governor carrying placards some of which read : ‘‘Enough is enough for NURTW in Agbado-Oke-Odo market,’ ‘No more intimidation in Agbado-Oke-Odo mareket,’ ‘Our dear Governor Ambode, save Oke-Odo traders from Engineer Famuyiwa and ‘Our lives are in danger in Oke-Odo market,’.
The traders claimed that this trouble was fermented by some officials of the Agbado Oke-Odo Local Council Development Area and that the motor park touts were on the pay roll of the said official.

The protesters who were led by Mr. Livinus Njoku who chairs one of the unions said:
“These touts have continued to threaten us. Last Thursday, they almost killed three persons. Several traders sustained injuries while three of us are still in the hospital receiving treatment as a result of the fire they opened on defenseless traders. We are therefore appealing to you sir, to wade into the matter and save our lives,” they pleaded.
“A senior official of the Council is responsible for the crisis. We have always wanted him to deal with us as market officials but he wanted NURTW to control the market. Inside the market, there is no motor park, so why should they leave the road and enter the market. We had an agreement to be remitting N100,000 every month. But in the month of November 2015, the same Local Council sent people to come and disrupt the agreement we had by printing and collecting tolls themselves. They blackmailed us by alleging that we were collecting money from innocent people but not allowing them to operate and collect their own money. They used money to harass, arrest and send us to court. It was while we were arrested that the NURTW launched the attack on traders,”.
A trader, Modupe Akani, recounted her ordeal, she said:
“ Touts in the market led by the Executive Secretary of Agbado Oke-Odo is causing problems to us. They impose high taxes on us as tickets. For instance, we pay N500 and above daily to them, depending on what you are selling. The government should please come to our aid”.
The traders warned:
“If the government and lovers of peace in Lagos State do not call some officials of Agbado Oke-Odo Local Council Development Area and their rampaging thugs of NURTW to order, there would be crisis”, they said warned.
After they left their letter at the Governor’s Office, the protesters went to the State House of Assembly where the Deputy Speaker , Hon. Wasiu Eshilokun advised them to peacefully resolve the issue. He assured that the House would continue to ensure that lives and properties in the market were protected through peaceful process.



Vanguard

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