Lagos Int Trade Fair Complex Takeover, A Legit Reason Or A Vendetta?
The ownership tussle about the very popular Lagos International Trade Fair Complex, located at Lagos-Badagry Expressway, may have degenerated into a very bad situation, as it caused a protest by the traders in the complex, who were angered over the unannounced shutdown of the complex for some hours on Monday 18th March, but was later reopened.
WakeUpAfrica tried to find out the reason for the protest initially but met a blockage as there was no detailed or cogent information about it. However, later, news filtered in through Legitng and other platforms, as to the reason why the complex was locked, and this is simply because there has been an ongoing ownership tussle between the government and the traders, owing to the state’s decision to concession the complex to new operators in 2018.
For a while now, the complex has 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, but the National Council on Privatisation approved the revocation of the concession of the complex in September 2018.
This caused the trade groups at the complex, under the platform of Forum of International Trade Fair Complex comprising Auto Spare Parts and Machinery Dealers Association, ASPMDA, 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, Association of Nigeria Tyre Marketers, Lagos International Trade Fair Plaza Owners Association and Tools and Hardware Dealers Association, to vehemently protest objecting the move.
Following the protest by the traders yesterday, President of Balogun Business Association (BBA), Tony Obih, said they want the world to notice the injustice that would be meted out to the traders, who are mostly of Ibo origin, if the government re-allocates ownership of the complex. He also said they have allocations, which had been running on long lease agreements of over 50 years since 2000. The agreement was reached with the government and it also stated an option of renewal for another 50 years.
They are also hinting that the shutdown and plans to re-allocate the complex has political undertones, and is a vendetta against the Ibos, propagated by a very influential politician in Lagos, because the ibos showed solidarity for the PDP Presidential candidate Atiku Abubarkar.