Conflict Erupts At Lafenwa Market  As Trader’s Goods Seized, Stall Dismantled Following Altercation With Market Leader


Daud Olatunji

 A dramatic and contentious incident unfolded at Lafenwa Market in Abeokuta, Ogun State, as a trader, Adetoun Oyenekan, raised her voice against the actions of the Female Head of the Market, Alhaja Sidi Owe, known as the Iyaloja. 

The dispute escalated to the point where the Iyaloja, in collaboration with the Babaloja, not only confiscated Oyenekan’s goods but also dismantled her stall.

 Oyenekan, who specializes in selling baby toys and stationery, claimed that her inventory, valued at over N1 million, was taken away by the market leaders.

The conflict between Oyenekan and the Iyaloja began when, according to Oyenekan, the market leader pushed her during a confrontation.

 The situation escalated when the Iyaloja allegedly slapped Oyenekan multiple times, to which Oyenekan retaliated. 

This confrontation ultimately resulted in the seizure of her goods and the destruction of her stall in Lafenwa Market.

In her account of the events, Oyenekan stated, “I was passing by in the market yesterday (Thursday) when the Iyaloja pushed me, I didn’t say anything. 

She did it the second time, and I asked why. I told her to stop acting that way. She started saying all sorts of things.”

She continued, “The next thing she did was to get a red and white tape to seal off my stall. I protested, I asked her to tell me what I did wrong.

 They carted away my wares worth over one million naira. She slapped me several times, and I retaliated. She pulled down my counter. She was supported by the Babaloja.”

Despite appealing to the Babaloja and reporting the incident to the Gbagura community, Oyenekan expressed her desperation, stating, “I am hungry. I cannot sell anything since yesterday. I am hungry, and so are my children. I can’t even send them to school. Please come to my aid.”

The Iyaloja, Alhaja Sidi Owe, when contacted, denied slapping Oyenekan, asserting that “she was the one who slapped me.” 

However, she did not deny taking the trader’s goods, explaining that it was the punishment for assaulting a Market head.

Alhaja Sidi Owe expressed astonishment that a market trader would dare to slap the Iyaloja. She recounted, “I don’t know where a market member would slap the Iyaloja. 

Everything happened yesterday. The woman didn’t greet me before now. Instead of dragging issues with her, I, as the Iyaloja, went to call the task force to seal off her stall with tape.”

Regarding Oyenekan’s goods, the Iyaloja insisted that if she wished to pursue the matter, she should go to court, and the market’s lawyer would respond.

The Iyaloja’s stance on the situation emphasized that Oyenekan was the instigator of the violence, and she did not retaliate. 

She stated, “If she asked you to publicize it, please do; we are ready. If she kills a cow for the entire market traders, they would eat; but if the entire market traders kill just one cow for her, she would not be able to eat it. Nothing would happen to her and me too.”

As this dispute continues to unravel, the question of whether non-state actors have the authority to seize individuals’ goods or dismantle their stalls in such incidents remains a contentious issue in Lafenwa Market


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