Officials of the Lagos State Kick Against Indiscipline, KAI, has reportedly invaded stands of some newspaper distributors and agents at Ikeja and carted away newspapers and magazines valued at N635,000.
The officials, last week, reportedly stormed Ikeja ‘under bridge’, General Hospital and Railway newspaper distribution centres and allegedly destroyed newspaper display stands.
The attack was said to have disrupted distribution of newspapers, until a call was allegedly put through to a top official of the Ministry of Environment.
It will be recalled that the vendors had last year accused KAI officials of extortion in order to allow them operate. Also, about two months ago, KAI officials allegedly raided the same area and scattered newspapers and magazines on display on the grounds that the vendors violated their operational agreement of vacating the walkways.
Meanwhile, the KAI leadership reportedly denied the allegation.
Following the recent development, the Coordinator, Ikeja Stationary Newspaper Union under Newspaper Distributors’ Association of Nigeria, NDAN, Mr. Emmanuel Edede, said they were shocked over the approach of KAI officials in the middle of the night, New Telegraph reports.
The latest raid, according to the Coordinator, came despite the agreement on some operational guidelines with KAI leadership.
Edede said the stationary vendors were frustrated with constant raids of their stalls and seizure of newspapers, magazines, journals and books.
According to the vendors, the KAI officials seized their stalls, destroyed stands and disrupted sales.
Reacting to the incident on Wednesday, Edede said, “If the order is from the Lagos State Government, then we should be communicated instead of allowing us to pay money not remitted to government’s coffer.
“When we arrived for our daily distribution of newspapers on Friday around 4:30am, we were confronted by a large number of KAI operatives guided by some policemen.
“No newspaper was sold until late in the afternoon when a call was put through to a top official in the Ministry of Environment,” Edede said.
When contacted, the KAI Public Relations Officer, PRO, Mr. Tunde Olusesi, denied knowledge of raids, saying he does not have the capacity to speak on the matter as a civil servant.
Another vendor claimed that there was rumour that KAI wanted to relocate them to an unknown place but had not come out openly to tell them.
He said, “We have kept to our agreement with them to sell on stands and vacate walkways. We have been in this business for years and can identify all our members. So we are not touts or traffic robbers, we sell newspapers.
“They have destroyed our stands and now we are displaying papers on the drainage culvert,” the unidentified vendor added.
Vendors also claimed they had been asked to pay N15, 000 as administrative charges at KAI office before they could get the seized items.
“We are calling on Governor Akinwumi Ambode to intervene in this matter,” the vendors noted.