Traders at Oyingbo market, downtown Lagos, have raised their voices in protest against the prolonged closure of the market by Folashade Tinubu-Ojo, leader of markets association in Lagos.

The traders allege that the lockdown of the market, which has gone on for 13 days, is due to their failure to pay a N5 million fine demanded by Mrs Tinubu-Ojo, the daughter of former Lagos governor and presidential hopeful, Bola Tinubu.

Marketers, in their numbers staged a protest, displaying placards with inscriptions such as: “Folashade Tinubu-Ojo, Ahmed Tinubu’s daughter leave Oyingbo Market alone. Mainland Local Government, hear our cry.”

The traders had on Tuesday morning forcefully entered the market premises and found their goods perishing after days of shutout without access.

The aggrieved traders displayed the decayed goods on the floor while they expressed their displeasure over the loss of their goods.

Oyingbo market is predominantly a foodstuffs haven where tonnes of perishable goods are stocked and sold daily.

A member of the market committee simply identified as Baba Sikiru said Mrs Tinubu-Ojo had come to inspect the market months back and complained about poor sanitation. He said they then agreed with her to temporarily close the market to carry out required sanitation.

He said, however, after the market committee had finished cleaning the premises, Mrs Tinubu-Ojo then requested that the traders must pay a fine of N5 million before the market will be reopened.

Baba Sikiru explained that the traders pleaded with her to collect N4 million so they can continue trading but she insisted on collecting N5 million.

“Truly some months back when she visited Oyingbo market, she complained about the dirty environment and the committee members agreed to clean the market. We all cleaned the market with our hands. After that she came for inspection and said the market was clean,” he said.

“Then she demanded for N5 million bribe before she can open the market and we all begged her to collect N4 million but she refused.

“She came to lock the market without the authorization of the local government even the local government never demanded for such amount but it is Iya-loja that want us to pay her N5 million fine….haba it is a taboo!” He exclaimed.

Another trader in the market, Toyin Berkley, said they were asked to pay a N5 million fine without any prior notice.

She lamented that the traders cannot generate such an amount within a short period while their goods are still locked inside.

She said when they visited Madam Tinubu-Ojo, she agreed that the market will be opened on Sunday but she refused to visit.

“Last week, we went to Alausa and pleaded with her to open the market. She promised that she will come here to open the market on Sunday but we did not see her,” she said.

Corroborating Baba Sikiru’s claims, Mrs Berkley said “Truly, when we went to Alausa we begged her to collect N4 million but she refused.”

“Where are we going to get N5 million when the market is locked?” She asked.

“We get our daily income at Oyingbo market, some members are widows. We pay taxes to the government but you are requesting N5 million from traders when the market is locked.”

Another trader at Oyingbo market, Musa Okunlaja said “She complained about the dirty market. Oyingbo is a food market we clean the market after the close of the day, but you don’t expect a food market where people sell vegetables to be clean.

“We got tired of being idle at home without any money to feed our family. She locked the market for two weeks without any reason. We want the government to come and open the market for us.”

Mrs Abimbola who sells tomatoes at Oyingbo market said she threw her wares away because she could not have sold rotten tomatoes to her customers.

“We sell perishable goods in this market. All the tomatoes I have to sell rotted in the basket because there was nobody to buy from me. We are all hungry for two week. I have been idle at home without making sales while the goods I have to sell for money remained in the basket,” she lamented.

Mrs Tinubu-Ojo did not immediately provide comments when reachedon Wednesday. She claimed to be in transit but failed to get back as promised, hours after.

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