There was palpable tension in the Alaba International Market in Ojo, Lagos State as traders clashed with thugs over extortion.
A trader told SaharaReporters that the market was shut down on Wednesday in protest against illegal levies.
He said, “Trouble started when the new Chairman of the Alaba Electronic Union ordered the thugs otherwise known as Agbero to stop the collecting of various levies imposed on motorists coming into the market.
“The thugs in turn told the new union chairman that the former chairman sold the collection of levies to them at the cost of N16 million.
“The new chairman, however, because of complaints from traders over extortions and illegal levies from the thugs, asked them to stop the collection. He asked them to tell him the balance of the money paid to his predecessor so that he can pay them back but they refused.
“So, on Tuesday, the thugs came to continue the illegal collection but they were resisted and chased away. Because of that, traders were advised not to open their shops today because of fear that they will mobilise to attack traders. This afternoon (Wednesday afternoon), those thugs mobilised and came to the market with various types of guns.”
“They even overpowered soldiers and policemen sent to the market to ensure peace. They shot two persons, and they were rushed to the hospital. I don’t know the state of their health. The shooting of the two traders angered the traders to mobilise to chase them out of the market.
“As we speak, the entire Alaba market is in turmoil. We are keeping vigilant so that the hoodlums will not come back to burn down the electronic section of the market,” the trader who gave his name as Chinedu Ede told SaharaReporters.
Videos of the clash seen by SaharaReporters on Wednesday show hundreds of traders chasing the alleged hoodlums out of the market.
In one of the videos, a trader suspected to have been shot by the hoodlums could be seen as he was being taken away in a wheelbarrow.
Along with one of the videos posted on Twitter, the account user wrote, “Alaba international market taskforce fighting with Tinubu boys agberoo. They keep increasing charges per truck, buses, riders, etc. No work, no food. Stop the extortion in Lagos. Hard earned money not for agbero. Sanitation, power, security all individually sorted. Agberoo again?”