Traders at the Yaba market in Yaba Local Council Development Area, Lagos State, Southwest Nigeria, have begun to count their losses, following the closure of the market by the state government two weeks ago.
The market, one of the most popular markets in the Centre of Excellence, was shut down after a bloody clash between officials of Kick Against Indiscipline, KAI, and some market touts.
Scores of traders, including KAI officials, were injured in the clash that lasted for several hours.
The traders during a chat with P.M.NEWS lamented that billions of naira have been lost due to the closure of the Market, especially during the sallah festival.
They appealed to the state government and the Ministry of Environment to consider re-opening the market for the sake of innocent traders.
According to the Iyaloja of the market, Alhaja Owolabi Batola, â€œWe regret that the incident happened in the market because our market is a very peaceful place and such a thing has never happened before. I am appealing to Governor Fashola to help us reopen the market.â€
Speaking further, Mrs. Batola said, â€œWe have learnt our lessons. We have lost billions of naira. During the sallah period, most of the traders came for assistance because I am the market head and I have my own problems. Government should help us reopen our market.â€
Recalling what led to the clash, the Baba Oja, Yaba market, Alhaji Ganiy Okuwoga, said, “KAI officials arrested some guys who hawked curtains and albums in the market, for illegal trading. As they were about taking them in black maria to their office at Obalende, one of the arrested hawkers jumped down from the moving black maria and was crushed by an on-coming vehicle.
â€œBefore we knew what was happening, this market touts came from nowhere to avenge the maltreatment of their members by the KAI officials. The KAI also mobilised their colleagues who came accompanied by policemen and started arresting innocent people.â€
Alhaji Okuwoga said the guys that caused the trouble are not members of the market association, adding that, â€œthey have no permanent shops since they left Tejuosho Market after the inferno. We appeal to government to reopen our market as we promise to take a decisive action to prevent a repeat of such incident.â€
Mrs Patience Ogbeifun, a trader, described the incident as unfortunate, saying, â€œWe regret that it happened and we have met Alhaja Mogaji, hoping that she will help us persuade the state government to re-open our market. We find it difficult to eat and pay our children’s school fees now that they are just resuming for a new session and our market has been closed for two weeks.â€
Another trader, Rosemary Ose said, “It has affected our business a lot because it is close to two weeks that our market was closed and we donâ€™t have another place to go and there is no money to spend.â€™
When P.M.NEWS visited the market on Saturday, 3 August, 2011, business activities were at a standstill.