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Traders lament as Iyaloja seizes goods, destroys shop in Ogun


Traders lament as Iyaloja seizes goods, destroys shop in Ogun

A trader at Lafenwa Market in Abeokuta, Ogun State, has raised alarm over the confiscation of her goods by the female head of the market, known as the Iyaloja, Alhaja Sidi Owe.

The aggrieved trader, Adetoun Oyenekan, revealed that her wares were seized by the Iyaloja, who, in collaboration with the Babaloja, also dismantled her stall, leaving her with nothing.

Oyenekan, who sells baby toys and stationery, estimates the value of the confiscated goods to be over one million naira.

Narrating the incident, Oyenekan explained that she had a confrontation with the Iyaloja on Thursday, which escalated into a physical brawl. She claimed that the market leader slapped her multiple times, and she retaliated.

The consequences of this altercation, she alleged, led to the confiscation of her merchandise and the demolition of her stall in Lafenwa Market.

“I was passing through the market yesterday (Thursday) when the Iyaloja pushed me. I didn’t react the first time. She did it again, and I asked her why. I told her to stop behaving that way, and she started hurling insults.

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“Next thing, she used red and white tape to seal off my stall. I protested, asking her to explain what I had done wrong.

“They took away my goods worth over one million naira. She slapped me multiple times, and I fought back. She dismantled my counter with the support of the Babaloja,” she recounted.

Oyenekan said she had approached the Babaloja and reported the case to the Gbagura community, but no action had been taken so far.

“I am hungry. Since yesterday, I haven’t been able to sell anything. My children and I are starving. I can’t even send them to school. Please help me,” she implored.

When contacted, the Iyaloja denied slapping Oyenekan and instead asserted that “she was the one who slapped me.”

She also claimed that she did not retaliate, saying, “Let the tears that welled up in my eyes when she slapped me be the judge if she is lying. If she wishes for you to publicize this, please go ahead; we are ready.

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However, Iyaloja did not deny confiscating the trader’s goods. She contended that this action was a consequence of Oyenekan’s assault on a market head.

Mrs Owe expressed astonishment that a market trader would dare to slap the Iyaloja.

She said, “I don’t understand how a market member would dare to slap the Iyaloja. Everything happened yesterday. She never greeted me before this. I was supervising a culvert project at the market when she suddenly pushed me. She did it again when I went to meet a friend in the market. Everyone was shocked.

“Instead of engaging in a dispute with her, I, as the Iyaloja, called the task force to seal off her stall with tape. When they were about to do it, she started cursing the task force, so they backed away. When the task force couldn’t do it, I took the tape, thinking she would have some fear. But she pushed me again.”

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“As I struggled with her, she slapped me. I asked, ‘Should I turn the other cheek to you?’ She said she would slap me again if I did. I turned the other cheek, and everyone reacted, blaming her for her actions. So, we sealed off her stall with tape.”

“I have informed the Iyaloja of Egba, and she called the Babaloja. The appropriate punishment for whoever slaps the Iyaloja was implemented. Moreover, it has never happened before, and we have rules and regulations in our market.”

Regarding Oyenekan’s seized goods, the Iyaloja responded, “If she wishes to sue us, she should go to court. The market’s lawyer will respond.”

Mrs Owe also insisted that the woman should have organized a group to apologize on her behalf in order to facilitate the release of her confiscated goods.