Alaba crisis persists as stakeholders trade blames

Owoseni

Owoseni

After years of crisis, often leading to bloodbaths and Police interventions, relative peace appears to have returned to Alaba International Market in Ojo, Lagos as the opposing factions seem to have embraced peace.

But the factions described the prevailing peace as ‘artificial,’ as there are lots of aggrieved parties who are being restrained by the new leadership from opening their shops to carry out their legitimate trading.

Stakeholders in the market continue to trade blames, throwing the largest electronic hub in West Africa into unending crisis.

Incumbent Chairman of the Fancy and Furniture Dealers Association (FFDA) in the market, Emeka Mozoba, who is also the president of Alaba International Amalgamated Traders Association, told newsmen that the market would no longer experience crisis.

Mozoba, who said the members have embraced peace, however, said added that they had impeached four members of his executives for being among the traders that allegedly being used by his predecessor, Chief Azubuike Ekwerekwu, to fester the crisis and thwart efforts at promoting peace.

The motion for their impeachment, Mozoba stated, was moved by three of the members during the general meeting held to discuss the trader’s welfare, among others.

The four newly elected and sworn in executive members are Ernest Okonkwo, for first Vice Chairman; Felix Obalum, Second Vice Chairman; Ihuoma Malachey, Public Relations Officer; and Chukwuwike Udensi, as the Welfare Officer.

Addressing newsmen shortly after the swearing-in of the four newly elected members of the executives, the president of Alaba International Amalgamated Traders Association, Mozoba, said the traders decided to impeach the four traders because the are agents of crisis.

On his plan to bring all the warring parties together he said, “We have our reconciliation committee, whose job is to bring together all warring factions.”

The Association’s legal adviser, Igwe Okoro said he had been arrested and detained by police for defending the rights of the traders, adding that most crisis that come up in markets were promoted by external bodies who do not own shops in the market.

However, the other faction, who were impeached by the Mozoba led executive urged him to prepare is luggage and vacate the market. They accused him of violating the constitution guiding the market.

The seven aggrieved members of the executives said Ekwerekwu has no hand in the market crisis, saying that their sin against the chairman was that they passed a vote-of-no-confidence on him.

They called on the Lagos State government and the Commissioner of Police, Lagos State command to intervene in the Alaba imbroglio to avert loss of lives and lawlessness.

They showcased the letter containing a vote of no confidence which was signed by the first Vice Chairman, Acholamokwu Mmadueke; the second Vice Chairman, Stephen Ndubuzo; the financial secretary, Eselu Chukwudi; treasurer, Obinna Umeh; the public relations officer, Onyekwelu Chukwuemenam; Chief Welfare Officer is Victor Ndubuzor; and Victor Onyerionwu as Assistant Welfare Officer.

The statement, which was made available to newsmen, alleged: “We, the elected officers of Fancy and Furniture Dealers Association (FFDA), Alaba International Market, Lagos wish to state the following atrocities and illegalities committed by the present chairman.

“Mozoba registered the union’s vehicle in his personal name and he built 30 container shops, sold them and used the makeshift shops to illegally block member’s shops in the market.

“He should stop calling names and park his load and go. Ekwerekwu has no hand in our actions; we are grown men with families. He does not have shop and he is not a practical trader in the market.

“He deceived the elders and stakeholders into appointing him as the chairman, against the provisions of the union’s constitution.

“On Friday, August 12, this year, he invaded the market with thugs who inflicted injuries on many elected officers.

“They caused hundreds of members of the market to be dispossessed of their money and other belongings. He still parades those hoodlums till date.”

They also alleged that he allegedly collected N50, 000 each from 100 members for an award without approval from elected officers and removed tags from shops belonging to the elected officers for no reason.

“He dissolved the executive council, elders council, security and task force without approval of the elected officers.

“He does not allow the offices of the treasurer and the financial secretary. All the monies and revenue go direct to his table and he has never rendered any account of the monies.

“We, the elected officers, moved a motion for his impeachment and he stands impeached and removed as the chairman FFDA with immediate effect,” they added.

One of the embattled executive members, who was allegedly brutalised by thugs during the recent fracas, Michael Obinna, called on the state government and the Police to ensure justice was done in his case.

Obinna said: “I was on my way to the market when the thugs pursued me and I ran. They caught up with me and butchered me.

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