June 25, 2024
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The cost of tomatoes and peppers could increase in Lagos as the Tomato Crates Dealers Association of Nigeria threatens to cut the supply of tomatoes to the state due to alleged damage to its goods during a clash at Ilepo market recently.

The national chairman of the union, Alhaji Ahmed Alaramma, issued this warning during a press briefing on Sunday in Zaria.

Alaramma, who is also the National Secretary of the Amalgamated Union of Foodstuff and Cattle Dealers of Nigeria, stated that the clash at Ile-epo Market in the Alimosho Local Government Area of Lagos State, which started on May 1, resulted in the destruction of their investment in over 60,000 empty tomato crates.

Alaramma explained that raffia baskets were initially used to transport tomatoes to the south, but they caused significant damage to the tomatoes, leading to the adoption of plastic crates.

“Over 70 members of the association rent out the crates to tomato dealers across the country; we have over 60,000 crates which were about to be returned to the north at the market during the turmoil.

“These crates were burnt by the ‘area boys’ during the clash and they prevented our people from quenching the fire.

“We have audio-visual and other proof supporting our claims,” the chairman said.

According to him, each empty crate is priced at N6,000; thus, the members have incurred a loss of over N360 million in investment.

He appealed to the Federal Government, Lagos State Government, and other relevant stakeholders to address the issue and provide compensation to the association to mitigate the impact of the damage.

Alaramma also mentioned that the association is already consulting with its legal team regarding potential legal actions if the government’s response is not satisfactory.

“If nothing is done, we will have no option than to cut supply of tomatoes to Lagos over this incident,” he said.

Earlier last Wednesday, a section of the Ilepo Market at Oke Odo was earlier set on fire as hoodlums allegedly clashed with traders in the market over bet money.

It was learnt that the crisis started Wednesday evening and escalated on Thursday.

Some people were said to have been injured, while some goods were destroyed in the process.

Meanwhile, the state police spokesperson, Benjamin Hundeyin, in a statement on Thursday said normalcy had been restored to the market.

He explained that the Commissioner of Police had also directed the prompt prosecution of the arrested hoodlums and warned that the Command would decisively deal with anyone found breaching the peace, in accordance with the law.

Following reports of clashes among some youths and hoodlums in the Ile-Epo area of Lagos State, the DPO Oke-Odo swiftly led his men to the scene, and have since restored normalcy.

“Over fifty suspects have so far been arrested while the shanties they occupied have been destroyed, effectively dislodging them.

“The Commissioner of Police, Adegoke Fayoade, has directed the prompt prosecution of the arrested hoodlums and has equally warned that the command would decisively deal with anyone found breaching the peace, in accordance with the law.

“Meanwhile, the Assistant Commissioner of Police (Operations), Area Commander Alagbado and other Divisional Police Officers under the Area Command are currently on ground to forestall further breakdown of law and order,” the statement reads in part.

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