Where are you from, sir?
I am from Anambra State.
How long have you been here as a trader?
I joined as a member of the association here since 1992.
What’s the office you held before becoming the chairman, Board of Trustees of Ladipo Market Spare Parts Sellers Association?
I was the second chairman of this market between 1993 and 1994.
Since then, how would you describe transactions generally in this market?
Everything has been rewarding and peaceful. Even if you come here without a kobo, you will become somebody. In this place, I had trained a lot of people, including Igbo, Yoruba and people from other tribes. When I was the chairman, my Vice was Yoruba, Alhaji Adeleye.
What’s your reaction to what happened here on Tuesday?
It’s very unfortunate. We don’t believe any arm of government can do anything of that nature. We all know that this place is due for renovation. We had started something like that but was hijacked in a manner that’s inhuman. We only came here on that fateful day to see our roofs being removed without any prior notice. They came here in the wee hours of Monday, June 29, 2015, only for us to be here on Tuesday and see them destroying our roofs. We couldn’t have any access to the market. They cordoned this place with the police and army officers. We saw hoodlums removing the roofs. They didn’t only do that, they also looted our shops, carting away money and some valuable items, worth millions of naira.
How much was lost to this incident?
We can’t ascertain that now. We are still taking the inventory. It runs into millions of naira.
How many shops were destroyed?
They destroyed about 50 shops.
What do you want the state government to do on the issue?
We’re crying to the state government to come to our aid. We know that Governor Ambode is a gentleman and he has listening ears. But we learnt he was also surprised about what happened.
Have you people met him one-on-one?
No, we haven’t done that.
What’s your advice for the current executive on the issue?
My advice for them in a situation like this is that they should be calm. They should not resort to violence in resolving the issue. They should not take law into their hands. The worst is that we will apply litigation to settle the matter.
– TADE ASIFAT