Activities at Ikeja Shopping Mall, Lagos, was, yesterday, halted for several hours, following protest over the introduction of parking fees for vehicles parked on the premises of the mall.
The protest left customers stranded at the mall as early as 9 am, as shop owners shut their offices over the N200 per hour parking fee, which took effect from June 1.
Few hours after the protest commenced, customers who trooped into the premises of the mall were turned back by the protesting shop owners, who ensured that none of the outlets was opened for business.
When Vanguard visited the mall, all the outlets were shut, while some had on their entrance, inscriptions such as: “We are losing customers daily, We do not want parking fees,” “No parking fees, Occupy Ikeja Shopping Mall,” “We are closed in protest of the parking fees, We say NO to extortionists,” among others.
Many of the shop owners refused to comment on the development, but one, who identified himself as Mr. Ade Abiodun, said the introduction of the parking fee was a rip-off on the customer, especially “we, the shop owners who are also made to pay the parking fee.
“I work here for seven hours daily, which means I will have to part with N1,400 every day, which is not fair. We are not saying they cannot introduce parking fee, but N200 per hour is just incredible.”
Another shop owner, who pleaded anonymity, said trouble began when the managers of the mall leased the car park to a firm to manage, hence the mounting of the electronic billing system at the entrances of the mall.
He added that since the introduction of the new parking fee, their customer base had dropped significantly because customers were not willing to part with N200 per hour for parking at the mall.
“If it was N200 for the whole day, it is better, but you can’t bill every person, including those working here N200 for every hour.”
A customer, Mr. Mike Anthony, said the management was right on the decision, if the fee was meant to check the influx of non-customers, who use the car park for the whole day.”
At 2:30 p.m, the management of the mall gave in to the demands of the customers as it directed the parking fee to be suspended, bringing the situation back to normal as shops owners opened to customers.