June 29, 2021

Traders raise alarm over threat to invade market

By Evelyn Usman

Traders under the umbrella of Balogun Business Association, BBA Lagos International Trade Fair Complex, along the Badagry expressway, have raised the alarm over threat by thugs to invade the market and unleash mayhem on them.

They alleged that the thugs who were sponsored by a former leader of the association, had the backup of some top senior policemen.

Consequently, they have called on Police authorities in Lagos to wade in, with a view to arresting those spoiling for war, in order to avert bloodshed.

Briefing journalists over the weekend, at the association’s secretariat, the traders disclosed that information at their disposal revealed that the invasion would take place between Sunday and Wednesday, this week..

They recalled that similar attacks by thugs whom they alleged were loyal to a former leader of the market, occurred in 2005 and 2007, in a bid to force the leader on them. But they vowed to resist any unlawful takeover of their association.

Chief Security Officer of the Association, Chief Celestine Emechebe , said, ” We got the information that the opposition group, after the Kangaroo election with hooligans at the Villa Park Hotel, have perfected their plans to unlawfully invade our market and forcefully install their administration with the help of their Police friends. They will not succeed because we will resist it with all our strength. This same thing happened in 2005 and 2007, that led to the death of some persons”.

He traced the genesis of the problem to refusal by a former Chairman of the association’s Board of Trustee to step down for another administration, even after the expiration of his tenure.

Emechebe said, “ I have advised him privately to allow the present administration and caretaker Committee led by Chief Anselem Duru , to complete its term next month, to make way for a peaceful election on July 28th, but he refused to allow peace reign in the market”

On his part, the Progenitor /Founding Father of BBA, Ambassador Leonard Ogbonna , who is also the Secretary of the Caretaker committee inaugurated by the outgoing President, Chief Tony Obih, explained that he invited the accused leader to join the association in year 1990 but expressed regrets at the outcome of his action.

He alleged that at the expiration of the tenure of the former president, he refused to conduct an election last year due to the COVID-19 lockdown.

He said, “ As stipulated in our constitution, the outgoing administration had to inaugurate a Caretaker Committee headed by Hon. Anselem Duru . After the expiration of the constitutional two months lifespan of the committee, we approached a Badagry Magistrate court for an extension, which was granted until July 31, 2021 and upheld by a Federal High Court. We have appointed a Constitutional Returning Officer who is Chief G. O . Umunnabuike , who has instituted an Electoral panel already working, with our elections fixed for July 28th, next month”.

Vanguard gathered that a Federal High Court, sitting in Abuja, had stepped into the long-running crisis in Balogun Business Association and had granted an application of the association on June 24 , 2021 by its leadership, led by Chief Anselm Dunu, to quash a purported decision of the Corporate Affairs Commission ,CAC, revoking the current Certificate of Registration of the Association.