Traders in the popular phone and digital market known as Tarmac in the Panseke area of Abeokuta, Ogun State, were on Friday morning thrown into confusion when heavily armed policemen stormed the market and asked the traders to vacate the premises on account of a court order for them to leave.
When Punch Metro visited the market, it was observed that there was heavy presence of policemen while the traders hanged around the vicinity of their shops that were under lock and key.
Some of the traders who spoke with our correspondent noted that there had been recurring cases of land grabbers coming to ask them to vacate the market which had put their business at risk.
A trader, Akeem Oyeyemi, said that the police came in the early hours of Friday to send them out of their stores after showing them a court order which they were not privy to.
“What happened was that this morning around 5am, we received a call that about 200 police men have invaded tarmac with about 20 cars which our chairman also informed us that we should start coming. At around past 6am, we were all gathered here and went to the Olubara’s palace.
“From the palace, we came back here to meet the police to ask what happened. On getting here, the police showed us a court order, asking them to lockup Tarmac, but we told them that there was no notice of any court order given to us because we believed that if there will be need to lock this place up, we should be informed, but we did not know anything.
“So we decided that we should be allowed to open our stores but the police started shooting which made everyone to run for their lives. Till this moment we were not allowed to open our stores,” Oyeyemi said.
Another trader who spoke on condition of anonymity noted that there had been a recurring issue of land grabbers coming to the market to ask them to vacate the market.
She said: “This is not the first time some people who are land grabbers has been coming to this market to ask us to leave but we will later heard that our leaders has settled with them. The thing is becoming worrisome and it is affecting our business.”
Effort to get the reaction of the chairman of the market association, Ifebola Togunwa, proved abortive as he did not respond to calls and messages sent to his phone number.
When contacted via WhatsApp chat, the Ogun State Police Command Public Relations Officer, Omolola Odutola, asked if our correspondent was at the scene of the incident, to which our correspondent replied in affirmative and even sent pictures of the scene, but she was yet to respond after reading the message till the time of filing this report.
The PUNCH had on Wednesday reported that Ogun State House of Assembly alleged that policemen in the state were in connivance with some land grabbers to illegally arrest and detain innocent members of the public.
The Speaker of the Assembly, Olakunle Oluomo, who noted that hundreds of innocent residents of the state had continued to languish in various detention cells of the police both at Alagbon in Lagos and the Force Headquarters in Abuja had appealed to the Inspector-General of Police to wade into the illegal arrest and detention.