Alimotu Pelewura was the woman who led the Lagos Market Women’s Association in its struggles for women’s right to vote and against taxation during the colonial era.
Even though Pelewura was an uneducated fish seller, she greatly influenced decisions to the favor of her fellow market women. During the colonial era, she paid clerks and hired lawyers to represent them in their struggles. She wielded so much power that she became a source of concern to the British officials.
As a result of her influence, market women exercised a great deal of control over the markets, decided on locations, fixed prices, provided for upkeep, and gave loans to members.
Pelewura, together with other market women strongly protested the price control plan popularly known as the Pullen scheme named after its director, Captain A.P. Pullen.
She also worked with several nationalist parties as well as the Nigerian National Democratic Party and, in 1938, she served in the Nigerian Union of Young Democrats. In 1945, during a major general strike, market women in support of the striking worker reduced the prices of goods.
In 1947, she was given the title of ‘Erelu,’ for representing the interests of women.
She died in 1951 and thousands of people gathered at her burial.