Embattled Traders Pass Vote of No Confidence on Impeached Chairman

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Chiemelie Ezeobi

After years of crisis, often leading to bloodbaths and visits in and out of police stations, peace has now returned to Alaba International Market, Ojo, as the opposing factions are said to have embraced peace.

This was disclosed by the present chairman of the Fancy and Furniture Dealers Association (FFDA), Emeka Mozoba, who is also President, Alaba International Amalgamated Traders Association.

Mozoba, who said the members have embraced peace, however said they had impeached four executives for being among the traders that are promoting crisis and bastardising efforts of the association executives in promoting peace in the market.
Their impeachment was moved by three of the members during the general meeting of the association which was held to discuss the traders’ welfare among others.

Moving the motion for impeachment, the traders said the impeached persons were among those calling for government to handover the leadership of the market to Baba Oja or independent committee.

Stating the position of the board of trustees of the association, the acting chairman Raphael Okorem, said it is not true that a committee wants to take over the leadership of the association.

The four newly elected and sworn in executive members are Ernest Okonkwo for first Vice Chairman, Felix Obalum for Second Vice Chairman, Ihuoma Malachey as Public Relations Officer and Chukwuwike Udensi for Welfare.

Addressing the press shortly after swearing in the four newly elected members of the executives, Mozoba, said the traders decided to impeach the four traders because they have abhorred peace. On his plan to bring all the warring parties together he said, “We have our reconciliation committee, whose job is to bring together all warring factions.”

The association’s legal adviser, Igwe Okoro said he had been arrested and detained by police for defending the rights of the traders, adding that most crisis that come up in markets are promoted by external bodies.

However, the other faction members who were impeached said the opposite was the fact, as they were ones who had impeached the incumbent chairman, after they had passed a vote of no confidence on him.
The vote of no confidence was signed by the first Vice Chairman, Acholamokwu Mmadueke; the second Vice Chairman, Stephen Ndubuzo; the financial secretary, Eselu Chukwudi; treasurer, Obinna Umeh; the public relations officer, Onyekwelu Chukwuemenam; the chief welfare officer, Victor Ndubuzor and the assistant welfare officer, Victor Onyerionwu.

The statement, which was made available to crime reporters alleged thus, “We the elected officers of Fancy and Furniture Dealers Association (FFDA), Alaba International Market, Lagos, wish to state the following atrocities and illegalities committed by the present chairman.

“He registered the union’s vehicle in his personal name and be built 30 container shops, sold them and used the make-shift shops to illegally block members’ shops in the market.

“He does not have shop and is not a practical trader in the market. He deceived the elders and stakeholders into appointing him as the chairman against the provisions of the union’s constitution. On Friday, August 12, 2016, he invaded the market with thugs and cult boys armed with guns and other dangerous weapons, inflicted injuries on many elected officers.

“They caused hundreds of members of the market to be dispossessed of their money and other belongings. He still parades those hoodlums till date. He is an ex-convict that served a 13-year jail term for drug trafficking in Thailand and was wrongly and unconstitutionally appointed as chairman of the market union.
“He approached a female trader by name Onyinyechi for sex and because she refused, he forced a fine of N100,000, which she paid.”
Other grievous but unsubstantiated allegations were that he allegedly collected N50,000 each from 100 members of the market for NTA award without approval from elected officers. They also alleged that the chairman removed tags from shops belonging to the elected officers for no reason.

They added, “He dissolved the executive council, elders’ council, security and task force without approval of the elected officers. He sexually harassed the office secretary and defiled the office of the chairman. He intimidated and imposed a fine of N50,000 on the first vice chairman for correcting him for sexually harassing a female trader.
“He does not allow the offices of the treasurer and the financial secretary. All the monies and revenue go direct to his table and he has never rendered any account of the monies. We, the elected officers moved a motion for his impeachment and he stands impeached and removed as the chairman FFDA with immediate effect.”

One of the embattled members who was brutalised during the recent fracas, Michael Obinna, called on the state government and the police to ensure justice is done.

He said, “I was on my way to the market when the chairman sent the cult boys after me. They pursued me and I ran. They later caught up with me and butchered me. They used machetes on me and also hit me with plank. I fainted when the pains became excruciating. Some people later took me to the hospital and I was treated.”

Showing off his bandaged hand, where the machete severed his right hand off, he said, “I need justice. I want the government to arrest the chairman. They are still threatening me. So I can’t enter the market again. I haven’t opened my shop in the past one month. Instead of arresting the mastermind that maimed me, they rather made him the chief security officer.”