On Friday, September 29, Mr Abumchukwu Emmanuel, the chairman of the Ogidan Shopping Complex in the popular automotive spare parts market, Ladipo International market, Mushin, Lagos resumed to his shop like every other day. However, on that fateful Friday, he and other traders found the whole market under lock and key.
What baffled Emmanuel the most was finding out that the major reason for the closure was the non-payment of the Lagos Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) bill. This is a bill that he and other traders in the market pay monthly to the management of the market for the general cleanup of Ladipo market.
How could this have happened? Was the money contributed monthly by traders not remitted to the Lagos state waste management? These were the questions running through the minds of Emmanuel and other traders.
“We learnt that we are owing LAWMA about N18 million and above. This money has already been contributed by the members of the market, every unit pays monthly. The shortcomings are from the leaders,” Emmanuel disclosed to The Record.
Another trader, Mr Chukwuemeka Micheal, also expressed his dismay over the LAWMA debt, stating that each automobile spare parts trader in the market pays N500 monthly to cover the LAWMA bill.
“The fault is from our leaders, maybe they are not paying or something like that,” Micheal added.
The Commissioner for Environment and Water Resources, Tokunbo Wahab, had cited various environmental infractions including, reckless waste disposal, and unhygienic premises, among others for the closure of the market which lasted for 17 days.
Before its reopening on October 16, the closure affected not just the income of the traders who mostly depend on the daily income from their businesses but also buyers, and resellers of automobile spare parts.
Mr Onyedikachi Isaac, a reseller who buys spare parts from Ladipo Market, lamented about how the closure made some of his customers lose faith in him as he was unable to deliver automobile parts and materials to them.
“I thank God it is open. So, it is time to make money again and replace losses from the closure,” Isaac told The Record.
However, some of the traders were not affected by this closure as not all parts of the market were shut down as widely claimed.
“The closure didn’t affect us much,” Mr Ozor Celestine, a ticketing officer in the Promised Land section of Ladipo market told The Record. Celestine further explained that only the main market was closed for about two weeks, while the Promise Land section was only closed for about a week.
Following an address by the President of the market, Jude Chikezie Nwankwo over the re-opening of the market on October 16, a police officer identified as Inspector Istifanus Kwanchi, was seen firing shots into the air to celebrate with the traders.
The Lagos Police Public Relations Officer, Benjamin Hundeyin in a tweet frowned upon this action, assuring citizens that the police officer serving with the Mobile Police (MOPOL) “has been brought in for appropriate disciplinary actions.”
Mr Emmanuel urged the Lagos State Government to give public notice to the traders, to avert market losses and closure in the near future.