Yoruba Artisans lament attacks, threat to life from ethnic rivals in Lagos

Yoruba Artisans write to Sanwo-Olu, Yoruba leaders, call for help

By Samuel Ogunsona

Yoruba artisans in Ladipo area of Lagos State have raised the alarm concerning attacks by Ndigbo businessmen in Lagos.

Under the umbrella body of Yoruba Artisans Traders Association, (YATA) the group said they currently suffer repression, physical attacks and threats to life coming from
Ladipo Central Executive Auto Dealers Association,( LACEC) made up of mainly Igbo traders in Lagos.

YATA was formed several years ago to halt the monopoly of the sales of spare parts and other essential materials by LACEC which has become a cartel that dictates market forces to the disadvantage of Yoruba traders and buyers.

In a protest letter sent to the Governor of Lagos State Babajide Sanwo-Olu and made available to Irohinoodua, YATA said the Yoruba Artisans in Ladipo are facing threats of murder and killings from people they called “blood thirsty businessmen.

YATA said the situation may get out of and lead to violence unless the Lagos State Government corrects the situation.

YATA said the Ndigbo artisans do not want any other association to exist at Ladipo and that they continue to threaten any Yoruba businessmen or women that to go into spare parts business.

“We bring to your notice the predicament of Yoruba artisans at Ladipo in Lagos in the hands of Ndigbos in Ladipo market. We are facing persecution.The rate at which the Igbos are maltreating the Yoruba artisans, traders and buyers in Ladipo market has become unbearable” YATA said in the letter signed by its leader, Davies Sanusi

The newly formed YATA has affiliated groups in Cotonou and Ghana, many of who members visit Nigeria to do business.

YATA said when it comes to development levies and dues YATA members always pay their quotas, but at the end of the day there is no transparency and accountability by LASEC which dominates and manipulates the market.

The group said eventhough the Ndigbo association of LACEC is made up of auto spare parts dealers, yet the Executive Council insists on controlling any business or trade transactions in the whole of Mushin and Ladipo.

“We can’t understand how an Auto dealer association should be running the affairs of every business at Ladipo and Mushin market with many different segments of artisans, traders and buyers” YATA said.

The group said it has approached the Ndigbo traders and even wrote several letters but all to deaf ears as they insist no other group should operate in Ladipo except LACEC.

“The Yorubas we are talking about are not mere people but owners of warehouses, shops and artisans with thriving business being marginalised and threatened in their fatherland” YATA said

It said it had made efforts to be included in the Ladipo leadership but that such efforts were rebuffed.

“When all our efforts at the market and local council failed, we then wrote to Lagos State House of Assembly, and chairman House committee on Local government affairs and Community, Hon. Sanni who invited both sides”
YATA said after hearing from both sides, they were asked if any of them was registered with the Lagos State Government and that both of them said none was registered.

The Lagos State Government then asked them to register with the Lagos State Government which YATA has done.

YATA said LACEC refused to register which compelled the Lagos Government to disband the group and the LACEC president to stop parading himself as president of his group.

YATA said the LASEC ignored the directive but went ahead to appoint one Obi Lawrence as Baba Oloja by displacing the Baba Oloja appointed by the late Alhaja Abibat Mogaji.

Lawrence Obi and his group were said to have started attacking shops owned by Yoruba artisans while threatening their lives.

“In the presence of the House of Assembly members, the Yoruba artisans were threatened and they even said they would take our lives in the presence of the Lagos House Committee members. One of our elders’ cloth was also torn. There and then members advised us to write petition to Commissioner of Police, Lagos State Command, which we have done immediately”

He said surprisingly the Ndigbo artisans in contravention of the House resolution to inaugurate their new exco members and the president with the self acclaimed Baba Loja Lawrence Obi and their president, collecting tolls in the market.

He said after all of the above they quickly appointed few of their Yoruba surrogates in the Executive Council adding that they were not elected but appointed meaning they could be terminated at any time.
YATA said all it wanted was justice and the right of YATA to exist alongside LACEC.

An official of LACEC who spoke to Irohinoodua however said his group was not opposed to YATA. The official who does not want his name in print said he was confident the problem would be resolved.

Independent sources told Irohinoodua that some Lagos Government officials collecte weekly dues from LACEC which run into millions making it difficult for the State Government to perform its duty of protecting the rights of indigenous artisans in Lagos

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