By Ligali Abdul-Lateef & Lucky Nwanekwu
LAGOS—Fight broke out yesterday between traders at the popular Alaba International market, along Lagos/Badagry Expressway and motor park touts, popularly called agbero, during which several persons were injured.
This is just as a three storey-building used as a plaza on Lagos Island went up in flames, destroying goods worth several millions of naira.
The fight at Alaba was said to have ensued, following protest by traders over extortion of their customers by the agberos. Vanguard gathered that the motor park touts always demanded for tolls from motorists who bought goods from traders. Failure to pay usually resulted in harassment and assault of customers.
The lingering action was said to have affected the traders, due to low patronage. Consequently, the traders were said to have protested the harassment of a customer who had gone to purchase electronics yesterday by some touts. This resulted in a verbal confrontation that led to a free-for-all, during which dangerous objects such as broken bottles, cutlasses and guns were reportedly used.
It reportedly took efforts of a combined team of policemen from Area ‘E’ to quell the situation.
Contacted, the Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, Mr Joe Offor, said some arrests were made, adding that normalcy had returned to the troubled zone.
Meanwhile goods worth several millions of naira were yesterday destroyed by fire that engulfed the third floor of a three story building used as shopping plaza, located on 122/124 Broad street.
The cause of the fire which started at about 9am, was not yet known at press time. But the Director of Lagos State Fire Service, Mr. Rasaq Fadipe, said the prompt arrival of three fire trucks from Onikan, Sari-Iganmu and Alausa, prevented the fire from spreading to other floors of the three storey building.
When Vanguard arrived the scene, the Managing Director, Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, LASEMA, Mr Micheal Akindele, revealed that no life was lost, lamenting, however, that rescue operators faced several challenges trying to put out the fire.
“Accessing the area where the fire was burning was a serious challenge to us because of the burglaries but we were able to break in to carry out our job on time,” Akindele said, even as he commended the support and cooperation of some banks around the area in attempting to stop the raging fire.
Owner of the shop, Mr Rauf, lamented that he had lost everything in the fire. He said: “The fire started around 9am and rescue operators were immediately called. As you can see, they are trying their best to put out the fire. Already, a lot of things have been damaged. I am appealing to the state government to come and help me because this is where I get money to take care of my wife and children. But all I have now is gone.”