Some angry suspected political thugs yesterday stormed the Mandate Market in Ilorin, Kwara State, to disrupt the disbursement of money to beneficiaries of the TraderMoni.
They scared away petty traders and agents of the scheme.
As early as 9am, the suspected hoodlums stormed the Mandate Market, insisting that the TraderMoni scheme cannot be implemented in the market built on a land donated to the state government by the Senate President Bukola Saraki’s father, the late Olusola Saraki.
It was not clear whether they were sent by anyone or whether they were mere party members, working on their own.
According to witnesses, including Bank of Industry (BOI) officials who were at the market to supervise the enumeration and disbursement of the N10,000 collateral free loans, the arrival of the mob at Mandate Market caused some uproar.
The suspected thugs also intimidated the petty traders who had lined up to participate in the programme. Many of the traders were palpably annoyed and refused to leave the market. Calm was restored with the intervention of the police.
At the Ipata Market, where enumeration and disbursement of the TraderMoni loans were also going on, market leaders reportedly rebuffed pressure from some officials of the state, urging them to shun the enumerators. The programme went on without incident.
Officials of the Bank of Industry (BoI) told reporters that enumeration had been going on in the two markets in Kwara State in the last few days, without incident until yesterday.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo is expected in the markets today.
Many have described the scheme as vote buying, wondering why a government that has been in office for over three years will start sharing money to market people few weeks to election.