Hours after the the Lagos Trade Fair complex was shut off, traders who were previously denied entry have finally been allowed in.
In the early hours of Monday, March 18, 2019, traders were surprisingly barricaded from carrying out their normal business activities at their various shops located in the complex.
Possible reasons for the closure
As at the time of this report, there is no official statement addressing why the market was suddenly closed.
According to an official of the complex who preferred anonymity, the Lagos Trade Fair was shut by presidents of the various market groups within the Trade Fair to protest an alleged hijack of the complex by a popular politician in Lagos.
The anonymous source said the popular politician in connivance with other powers that be, want to take over the Trade Fair complex, a move the marketers have continued to resist.
Meanwhile, it is on the record that the market had been a subject of conflict over planned concession by the Federal Government.
The Lagos Trade Fair complex was concessioned to Aulic Nigeria Limited in 2008. However, the National Council on Privatisation had, in September 2018, approved the revocation of the concession of the trade fair complex.
Objecting the move, trade groups at the complex, under the platform of Forum of International Trade Fair Complex comprising Auto Spare Parts and Machinery Dealers Association, Association of Progressive Traders of Nigeria, Call Park Ventures Limited, C-Tempo International Limited, Balogun Business Association/International Centre for Commerce, Mandillas International Trade Centre/Mandillas United Traders Association of Nigeria, Associiation of Nigeria Tyre Marketers, Lagos International Trade Fair Plaza Owners Association and Tools and Hardware Dealers Association, launched series of protests.
The traders’ groups had noted that they were not consulted over the planned revocation of the concession, despite the fact that they hold 75 per cent lease of the complex for 50 years, beginning from 2004 and had been paying their fees yearly as agreed.