Abibatu Mogaji Model Market, popularly called Iponri Market in Lagos State, has been opened 10 days after it was locked up by the state’s market leader, Folashade Tinubu-Ojo.
It was learnt that the market was opened, after each trader paid between N500 and N1, 000 as fine, while those who did not pay the money as of Saturday, were fined N5,000.
Market sources said while Tinubu-Ojo demanded N5m from the traders before the market was opened, those she sent to open it made an extra demand of N200,000, but the traders bargained and paid N50,000.
Our correspondent was also told that part of the condition given by Tinubu-Ojo, who is the daughter of a former Lagos State Governor and leader of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu, was that all the marketers must tender their membership card of the APC.
Source had reported on February 12 that Tinubu’s daughter stormed the market penultimate Saturday with a team of policemen and locked it without giving any explanation.
Traders, who spoke with our correspondent on the condition of anonymity, had, however, said the crackdown was the fallout of a fight between a woman loyal to Tinubu-Ojo and a member of the market committee.
The woman was said to have been locked up in a police cell, which made the state market leader angry.
When our correspondent visited Iponri Market on Tuesday, he observed that life was gradually returning to it. It was learnt that the market committee had been dissolved, while the market leaders had been asked to “step aside.”
A source, who pleaded anonymity said, “Part of the decisions of the meeting we had with the Iyaloja-General (Tinubu-Ojo) on Thursday was that the market leaders should step aside for some time, while the market committee should be dissolved.
“Those of us operating big shops were asked to pay N1,000 as fine, while those with small shops were told to pay N500. Those who did not pay when others contributed the money have been asked to pay N5,000.
“The women that the Iyaloja-General asked to open the gate for us asked for N200, 000 extra, but people begged them, and they eventually collected N50,000.”
The source said when the committee members were going to see the Iyaloja in her office, they were mandated to come with APC membership cards or they would not be attended to.
Another trader, who identified himself as Kaka Ibrahim, a painter in the market, told our correspondent that the traders also owed the council three years rent, and the traders were told to pay their debt in two weeks.
Ibrahim said, “Initially, the Surulere Local Government council was collecting N500 for big shops and N250 for small ones, per month. But in 2012, the money was increased to N1,500 and N500 for big and small stalls respectively. We stopped paying because the money was too high.”
Tinubu-Ojo confirmed the opening of the market to our correspondent. She added that money was collected as fine, which was a norm in the market.
She said, “We have opened the market. I sent some people to open it. Yes, we collected money as fine, which is the norm in the market. But I don’t know what other thing you are talking about.”
She, however, cut off our correspondent, saying she was busy. A text message later sent to her on the APC membership allegation was not replied.
The council Chairman, Tajudeen Ajide, in a telephone interview with our correspondent, said, “We opened the market because they have agreed to pay all the money they owe.
“We just built two modern toilets and we are charging them just N1,500 per month; tell me, are we asking for too much? The value of what they sell in some of the shops is over N20m. So, how is it that they cannot afford that small money? The market committee gave these shops out for between N20, 000 and N30, 000. How can we have development in Nigeria if we keep doing things like this?”
Sourced From PunchNG.