Monday 15 February 2016

Tension As Lagos Plans to Demolish Yet Another Popular Market

Anxiety has been heightened as traders in a popular Lagos market reveal the government's plan to demolish the trading venue.

Lagos market (file photo)
The Alimosho Local Government Council of Lagos state has threatened to eject the traders at the Rauf Aregbesola Market, Iyana Ipaja  to pave way for the demolition of the structures to upgrade the market, causing tension among traders.
The traders have consequently appealed to the Lagos State Government to intervene in the impasse between them and the Local Government.
The traders told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Sunday that this was the second attempt by the local government authorities to forcefully eject them from the market.
According to the traders, in 2012 when the market was under Egbeda/Akowonjo Local Development Authority, the council asked them to submit their allocation papers for an upgrade of the market.
They said that the upgrade was suspended when their lawyer challenged the council after an advice from the Lagos State Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development.
According to them, the Ministry of Physical Planning advised that the structures in the market be maintained as any attempt to raise the shops to high rise would affect the structural integrity of the entire market.
Mr Isaac Ilesanmi, a trader in the market said: “We forwarded the Town Planning report, through our lawyer, to the Governor’s Office and copied the council and the upgrade was suspended. But now, they have come back after Gov. Fashola has gone to take over the shops.’’
The traders queried the rationale of the local government for planning to take over the shops that were sold to them on owner-occupier terms at the first instance.
“We bought these shops in 2004 at the price range of N300,000 for those located inside and N400, 000 for those facing the road. We pay our yearly permit of N4, 100 as responsible citizens, abide by every rule governing the state and expect due consideration from government.

“However, it is unfortunate that a government that we chose to represent us and oversee our welfare is working secretly to destroy our source of livelihood,’’ he said.
Mrs Ayoola Aromolaran, another trader in the market, said: “We are not against the plan to upgrade the market, but what we are saying is that no trader was consulted about the project.

“I feel this is wrong, we own the shops because we bought them from the state government in 2004, therefore, we should be engaged in issues that affect the market.

“The purported committee that has been dealing with the council is not representing us; we did not elect nor nominate them to speak on our behalf.

“They have no stake in Rauf Aregbesola Market; they do not own any shop nor sell in the market, so, they can never understand our plight nor be our representatives in this issue.’’
Mr Lateef Abiodun, the Market Master for Alimosho Local Government, told NAN that the planned upgrade of the market was in line with the megacity plan of the State Government.
Abiodun also serves as the Chairman, Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), Alimosho Branch.
He said: “There’s going to be an upgrade, but we will not displace them, all the previous tenants will be put back in their rightful places.

“We have had meetings with the committee members set up by the market on this issue. We do not intend to create untold hardship on them, but rather to protect them.

“If they are resisting, what happened in Oshodi market may happen there, we are not saying we are the ones to do it.

“Because, those people (Oshodi) have been on it for quite a long time and the state government just took action, we do not want that to happen here.’’
The Rauf Aregbesola Market is a bungalow structure market, created in 2004 with 110 shops. 

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