Peace returns to Ladipo Market
Peace seems to have returned to the popular Ladipo international auto spare parts market, Matori, Mushin, following leadership crisis that broke out between the newly sworn-in Ladipo Central Executive Committee (LACEC) led by Mr. Kingsley Ogunor, popularly known as Uncle Sege and some group of workers of the past administration known as cemetery boys, which is being led by Monday Lawrence Obijiogu aka Ijoba.
Addressing journalists in the market, the president-general of the market and chairman LACEC, Ogunor, gave brief analysis of how the market association was started three decades ago with the objective of fostering unity among traders and protecting lives as well as properties of traders with the assistance of Nigerian security agencies, to create an enabling, condusive trading environment.
“In the bid to restore peace to the market, respected members of the association as well as stakeholders opted for Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) process, where a discourse involving all the parties was held and compromise was reached.
All is calm now in Ladipo market and the warring parties have embraced peace,” he said. Ogunor called on stakeholders of the market to freely come to the multi-billion naira market and transact their business without fear, promising that their lives and wares would be well protected.
He, however, sounded a warning to anyone that may want to foment trouble to desist as LACEC leadership will not hesitate to visit such person with the full weight of the law, adding that his administration has adopted the open door policy style of leadership.
Prior to sheathing of the swords, the Executive Secretary of Mushin Local Council Area, Babajide Bello, had threatened to shut the market if the crisis persists, saying that he was ready to arrest the situation so that it will not escalate.
He gave the warning during an earlier interaction with journalists, saying he cannot fold his hands and watch total break down of law and order in Mushin by the warring parties in the market.
According to him, the cemetery was contracted to Lawrence, but he does not know if the contract involved collection of revenues/tolls in Ladipo market on behalf of the council.
Trouble started in the market after the Lawrence controlled cemetery boys formed a parallel executive and took over management of the market, by issuing receipts and collecting revenues without due approval from the constituted LACEC authorities.
Attempts by LACEC taskforce to stop them resulted in a bloody clash. Many traders were wounded following the use of dangerous weapons including guns, machetes and axes before the police brought the situation under control.
A trader in the market, who pleaded anonymity, said it is not the first time fight will break out and disrupt the peace of the market, as leadership tussle is a common feature.
He noted that the recent trouble was as a result of the fighting and arrest of eight workers loyal to Lawrence, who were charged before an Ebute-Metta Magistrate court for causing mayhem in the market.
According to him, dissatisfied with the development, some cemetery boys stormed the market with the aid of some military officers, started moving round and ringing bell to announce that the executive of the market has been dissolved and they were in charge.
When LACEC taskforce members attempted to stop them, fight broke out. Commenting on the general elections and alleged partisanship of the market leadership, Ogunor said it is untrue and LACEC is not affiliated to any political party, but as a market with progressive mindset, it supported the ruling party in the state, the All Progressive Congress (APC).
“I want to debunk the rumour that Ladipo market associates with the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP). It is a blatant lie, and as the chief servant of the market, I want to state emphatically that Ladipo market is not partisan.
As a progressive people open to development, we support change that positively impact on the well-being of our traders and their business, as well as our immediate business environment,” he added.