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Ladipo spare parts market shut as traders protest ‘invasion by soldiers’

Ladipo spare parts market shut as traders protest ‘invasion by soldiers’
July 14
22:53 2021

The popular spare parts market in Ladipo area of Lagos has been shut by traders, following a shooting incident allegedly involving officers of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF).

Some persons were allegedly killed on Tuesday, when soldiers reportedly arrived the market.

There are conflicting reports on what led to the shooting at the market.

Some persons had claimed that the soldiers clashed with hoodlums who demanded parking fee at the market, but according to executive members of the market, the crisis took place over the sale of spare parts to the officers.

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Speaking at a media briefing on Wednesday, Jude Nwankwo, president-general of the market, said the soldiers invaded the market over the sale of an item worth N3,500.

While alleging that traders have come under constant harassment by military officers, he added that they may stop selling to soldiers if such incidents continue.

“It’s quite unfortunate the incident that happened yesterday in Ladipo market. We have been facing a series of problems with soldiers. And I believe this is the time we are going to stop it. I believe by the grace of God that a time will come when we will decide not to sell vehicle spare parts to soldiers,” he said.

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“It’s getting out of hands — taking laws into their hands and we’re here talking about key starter worth N3,500, and somebody is dead. We don’t know how many died and so many are still in the hospital. We are going to take this matter to the highest authority to make sure we get justice.

“Yesterday, we went to their office. As soldiers, they’re trying to protect their officers. We told them we’re leaving their office to make report to the necessary authorities. It’s quite unfortunate that soldiers will come into the market and start shooting traders as if they’re animals. The intimidation in their office was so much and we left. But this morning, one of their commanders called me and said he would like to have a meeting with our executives.

“Due to the situation at the market today, we decided to shut down to show Nigerians and the world what happened in Ladipo market and in solidarity with the person that died. That is why we haven’t been able to meet with the commander. We can’t say how long the market will be shut for now.

“Ladipo market is the biggest in all of West Africa. For now, we can’t talk about how much we have lost, but about lives.”

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Speaking on the development, Edward Gabkwet, NAF spokesperson, said the air force officers did not kill anyone during the clash.

He noted that the air force personnel had responded to a distress call from traders in the market.

“It was an unfortunate situation. It wasn’t as if it was the air force men that opened fire, but the rifle, which belongs to the air force personnel, has been retrieved,” he said.

“I understand one or two people died, but it is unconfirmed. Our base commander has been told to get to the root of the matter.”

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