Traders at the New Benin Market, Edo State have called for an end to extortion by the various market unions responsible for allocating shops to traders in markets.
The traders, who commended the ban on illegal levies and taxes, told Channels Television that the action of the state government only solved half of the problem, as the market unions were carrying on with their activities unaffected.
The traders in the market say their colleagues trading by the roadside are a hindrance to their business. Many petty traders have made the roadside their shops, but inside the market tare shops available for use.
The street traders, who claimed to have been allotted the trading spots by individuals who collected money from them applauded the government’s recent ban on illegal collections. However, they are yet to leave the road.
“They have not really made the announcement that nobody should sell along the road, if they had made the announcement maybe we would go inside the market,” one of them said.
The Chairman of the Traders’ Welfare Union Mr Lucky Orukpe, said though the ban on illegal collections was working, extortion by market unions had continued.
“We have different unions that people are paying to. Before you can sell meat today in any market in the state capital here you have to pay 70,000 Naira, five crates of malt. They will tell you the days you will come to market and sell meat. So people don’t like to join the union because they cannot pay their money.
“Before you can sell pepper or tomatoes you have to pay 30,000 Naira with five crates of malt.
“We call on the government to rise up and we will identify this union member. We know them,” Mr Orukpe told Channels Television.
The menace of street trading seems to be one that would remain, until a solution is found that will bring the much needed order to markets.
However, critics have asked the government to make shops it built in markets affordable to end street trading.