Fancy and Furniture has acquired the reputation as the bad leg of Alaba International Market because from time, its election has been characterized with violence and bloodshed.
However, the members of the association seem to have grown up because the election that brought the current executive Chairman, Hon. Mbonu, Udochukwu Godfrey was credible, free and fair and this has brought peace and tranquility in the market
In this interview, Mbonu said that the association because of its strategic location is the gateway to Alaba International Market, adding that whatever affects Fancy and Furniture rubs off on the entire market. Excerpts:
Fancy and Furniture has been notorious for violence, what do you think is the cause?
After I was elected into office, I sat back and tried to find out why our association has been noted with violence. From the research that I conducted, I discovered that a lot of the miscreants that were used by the leaders of the association in the past have quietly infiltrated the market as members and settled down, though without any serious thing that they are doing. You know that a tiger can hardly change its colour.
It is this miscreants that are still fomenting trouble in the market. I have made this known to the security agencies like the Police and DSS to assist us in flushing these criminal elements out of the market and they are doing this quietly. The Alaba Amalgamated Task Force also comes on a regular routine check and this is also yielding result.
That is why we now have peace in the market. However, there is another group that has formed a Whatsapp group with the intention of spreading wicked and malicious information against the leadership of the market and even the government.
The type of fake news that they are spreading has the capacity to cause breakdown of law and order, not only in the market, but in the country as a whole.
The elders council has warned them to stop this forthwith and I want to use this medium to let the world know that the message that they are spreading is not the position of Fancy and Furniture Dealers Association or Alaba International Market. I am appealing to the police and the other security agencies to trace, arrest and deal with them decisively.
You have been in office for few months now, what are your achievements?
Well, I started by renovating our secretariat. We have given it a face-lift. We have bought 25KVA generator to power the air conditioners in the secretariat. We have installed CCTV in the secretariat as a way of beefing up the security in the market. We also have in mind to install CCTV in all the strategic places in the market.
We have erected new gates to help the night guards and also want to put solar powered lights in all the strategic places to assist the night guards. When we were campaigning, we promised that we would run a transparent and accountable administration and since we come on board, every money that belongs to the association is being paid into the association’s account. These are just a little of the things that we hope to do for our people.
Do you need any assistance from the government?
Yes, a saying has it that to whom much is given, much is expected. Alaba International is the biggest source of revenue for Ojo local government. In fact, Alaba generates over 80 per cent of the revenue of Ojo local government. But we are not getting anything in commensurate to what we are giving.
Street traders have made the major road into the market impassable to vehicles. If you ask the street traders to leave the road, they would say that they are paying the local government, the Oba or the Baale, therefore, they would not leave the road.
This is affecting our business a lot because it can take you more than three hours to drive from Volkswagen bus stop to Alaba. So, we are appealing to the Council to chase the street traders away from the road. We are also appealing to them to build an industrial borehole for those who are cooking the food that we are eating in the market to avoid outbreak of diseases.
There is no clean water in the market .We have a site where it can be located .We are also in need of standard toilets and bathrooms because this is an international market. Another thing is that the drainage behind Fancy and Furniture to Alabarago is filled up. Ojo local government should help us to clean it for free flow of water and other things.
What advice do you have for the traders?
The advice that I have for them is to try to be law abiding. There are people who eat through crisis. They should avoid such people. Election into the executive of Fancy and Furniture has come and gone and those who lost should wait for another election time instead of trying to cause trouble in the market.
I want to use this medium to appeal to the police and the DSS to be on the alert for the trouble shooters in the market. We have zero tolerance for crisis in the market. We are very responsible men and women and those who want to be outlaws, the law enforcement agencies should try to be helping us in taking them to where they belong.