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Ile-Epo clash: Union claims N360m loss, may cut tomato supply to Lagos

The Tomato Crates Dealers Association of Nigeria has threatened to cut tomato supply to Lagos State over alleged destruction of its goods.

Its national chairman, Alhaji Ahmed Alaramma, disclosed this during a news briefing in Zaria on Sunday.

Alaramma is also the National Secretary of Amalgamated Union of Foodstuff and Cattle Dealers of Nigeria.

He said the clash at Ile-Epo Market in Alimosho Local Government Area of Lagos State, which began on May 1, had caused the destruction of their investment in over 60,000 empty tomato crates.

Alaramma said that raffia basket was initially used for conveying tomatoes to the south, however, it caused more damages on the tomatoes, hence, the introduction of plastic crates.

“Over 70 members of the association rent out the crates to tomato dealers across the country; we have over 60,000 crates which were about to be returned to the north at the market during the turmoil.

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“These crates were burnt by the ‘area boys’ during the clash and they prevented our people from quenching the fire. We have audio-visual and other proof supporting our claims,” the chairman said.

According to him, each empty crate costs N6,000; therefore, members lost over N360 million investment.

He appealed to the Federal Government, Lagos State Government and other relevant stakeholders to look into the issue and compensate the association, to cushion the effect of the damage.

Alaramma said that the association was already in touch with its legal team over available legal remedies, in the event of unfavorable responses from the government.

“If nothing is done, we will have no option than to cut supply of tomatoes to Lagos over this incident,” he said.

It may be recalled that a section of Ile-Epo Market was, on Wednesday evening, set on fire as hoodlums clashed, leaving many people injured, while commercial goods were destroyed in the process. (NAN)

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Mustapha Yauri
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