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Akere Market traders blame political thugs for fire outbreak

By Ngozi Nwankwo

Traders at the Akere Spare Parts Market, located in the Ajeromi Ifelodun area of Lagos, have fingered political thugs for the fire incident that razed down the market.

The market was engulfed in flames early on Wednesday morning of March 8.

Predominantly occupied by Igbo traders, Akere market suffered extensive damage in the fire while the cause of the fire is yet to be officially determined.

Meanwhile, many of the affected traders suspected foul play, suggesting that politically sponsored thugs may be responsible for the incident.

The traders who claimed the incident caught them unawares, described the situation as worrisome and disheartening to them as business owners.

While the traders were counting their losses, the incident seems to have provided succour for scavengers who are seen picking some of the remains from the market.

Although the Lagos State governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, recently donated the sum of N100 million compensation to the traders, stressing that there is no room for politics to divide the residents, many of the shop owners are far from recovering from the shock.

Responding to a telephone interview, Mr. Chibuike Ihedi, a businessman in Akere Spare Parts Market where he deals on motto spare parts blamed the incident on political thugs working for the APC party.

Ihedi said a threat to his life started a few months ago because of the part he played in sensitizing other shop owners about Peter Obi being the best Presidential candidate among the three main candidates contesting in the Presidential Election that took place on Feb 25th, 2023.

“These thugs believe that I was part of the reason they (APC) lost the election in that part of Lagos State because I was at the forefront of the Labour Party’s campaign in Ajegunle.

“I was quite popular not only among my fellow shop owners in Akere Spare Parts market but also among the people of that community where I was born and raised,” Ihedi said.

He further disclosed that he would have been killed if he were around at the time of the attack but got lucky he travelled a day before the election, noting that a big gash at his back will continue to remind him of the brutal attack he suffered in October 2022 before he managed to escape the country.

Another trader, Mr. Moses Njoku, said he lost items worths N10m to the inferno while another trader, Michael Akpan, said he lost items worth N5.8m.

Also speaking, a trader, Mr. Igweshi, said: “It is getting too much. It is unfortunate that these attacks seem to be targeted at Igbo people’s businesses. Politically motivated attack is killing the economy.”

“I don’t know what Igbo people have done to these people, they are destroying everything; I lost goods worth about N20 million. If they want us to go, they should allow us to go because this is not the first time they’re coming to this place.”

The traders further revealed that after the announcement of the presidential election results some thugs tried to set fire to the market but were chased out by two security guards.

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