IMMINENT MARKET CRISIS LOOMS :  As Traders Brace Up For War Over Fears Of Lagos  Police Command Invasion To Foist New Leadership 

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There are palpable fears and high tension at the Balogun Business Association Market, BBA, located at the Trade Fair Complex,  along Lagos/Badagry Expressway,  following reports alleging that breakaway members of the Association led by one Chief Okey Ezeibe and Mr. Oscar Odogwu, will storm the market today with police to enforce a purported court order foisting unknown and unrecognized members as leaders in the market.    

These said unknown members of the market led by Chief Ezeibe, a former leader in the market,  had dragged the present leadership to almost all the police stations and courts in the country with a view to enthroning his sympathizers as leaders in the market.  

However, this move which is seen  as a contravention of subsisting orders and decisions of the Federal High Court,  irked traders in the market ,who were informed that plans had been concluded with the police to foist illegal officers on them, prompting their resolve to resist the attempt by all means.  

 It was gathered that all the warring factions in the market are poised for a showdown with the police  and the unknown members of their association today, following their alleged boasting and vow  to use police illegally to take over their leadership.  

A credible source revealed that  the new phase of the crisis that had been rocking the market association Started after Ezeibe  allegedly took some loyalists of the association to an obscure hotel outside the market and purportedly conducted an election in which unpopular and unrecognized persons were deemed elected as leaders of the association to the chagrin of other members who felt his reign as Board of Trustee Chairman had lapsed and therefore, conducting an election outside the market runs contrary to the constitution of the association.   

This illegal election was purportedly conducted notwithstanding that the Federal High Court,  Abuja, had ordered that such action should not be taken in its decision in July last year, 2021,in a lawsuit Suit No.FHC/ABJ/CS/451/2021.

Sources in the market alleged that the former leader was embarking on such division amongst the leadership in the market with a view to perpetuate himself as a life trustee of the association as well as continue to have access to the finances of the association the way he used to when he served as President of the association.  

 It was alleged also that he earlier approached the Corporate Affairs Commission, CAC, to alter the order of things with regards to the Board of Trustees with the sole aim of entrenching  himself as a life Chairman of Board of Trustees  but the hasty and untidy revocation of the Certificate of Registration of the association by the CAC resulted in a legal action by the association and its incumbent management resulting in an order by the Federal High Court, Abuja which intervened, stayed the action of the Commission and sustained the incumbent management of the association in office pending determination of that Suit  No.FHC/ABJ/451/202. 

The Caretaker Committee secretary, Mr. Leonard Ogbonnaya, confirmed that when the former leader noticed that he was going to face a stiff resistance from the association and its incumbent management, he resorted to using the Nigeria Police Force to have his way prompting the association and its incumbent management to file another lawsuit against the Police in Suit No.FHC/ABJ/579/2021 in which Chief Ezeibe and others are now also Defendants. 

The legally constituted leaders of the market were said to have filed suits at the federal High court after which an order was given directing the Police to ensure that nothing is done to tamper with or interfere in the subject matter of the suit.  The decisions of the court are said to be subsisting up till the time of this report.  

However, reports said the unknown members of the market approached the police to help them enforce illegal election,  but the Chief Anselm Dunu-led legally constituted Caretaker Committee, with the support of the vast majority of membership of the association who has been engaging with the Nigeria Police Force until the recent developments of the rumored plans to invade the market in the early morning hours of today and forcibly seize the market and the Secretariat of the association and illegally install the leader of the unknown members in office. 

When contacted, Chief Anselm Dunu, the incumbent Chairman of the Caretaker Committee of the association told  our correspondents that the association and its incumbent management led by him has repeatedly extended a hand of fellowship to the breakaway members, calling them to join hands with the rest of the association to move the association forward and conduct credible election of new officers. 

The association, he said, calls on the Area Commander of Area E  Command to steer clear and not interfere with ongoing judicial proceedings at the Federal High Court, Abuja, and at the Court of Appeal, particularly the appeal at the Court of Appeal against the ruling of Justice Ogunjobi of the Lagos State High Court of 5th May,2022 and the  pending motion for stay of execution pending determination of the appeal, stay of proceedings in the suit pending determination of the appeal, and injunction pending determination of the appeal. 

Efforts made to speak with Lagos state police spokesman failed as he did not pick his calls. However, police sources said the command may reconsider the invasion of the market but would ensure that their men will be at alert to forestall any breakdown of law and order in the market.

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