Oke-Odo market demolition – Markets demolitions in Lagos state have become Siamese in recent years. Major markets in Lagos have witnessed demolition at the expense of both buyers and sellers in such markets to the profit of the state government.
While the government is carrying out the exercise for reconstruction and development of the mega city, its residents are wailing for denial of their means of living.
The plan to reconstruct Araromi/Oke-Odo (Ile-Epo) market might seem to those planning the demolition and reconstructing a welcomed idea to beautify the ‘mega city’ but the occupants (traders) are only seeing this as a means of exploiting fueled by greed. As some claimed the directive was from the State Government, others denied, as they claim it is the sole plan of the administration of Agbado/Oke Odo local council development area. However, the Agbado/Oke Odo LCDA claimed it’s from governor of the state.
“The directive for the demolition of the market came from the Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode. We are not praying the demolition to take place because when if it is done, it would create more financial problem for us, Bolaji Mohammed, one of the occupants of an open stall in the market lamented.
According to her, whenever a demolition like this take place, the former occupants of the markets don’t get to benefit when new structures are constructed. In her complaint, she pointed out that the new market might end up becoming more expensive and an avenue of exploit for new tenants of the shops. She pleaded with whichever quarters of the state responsible for market restructuring to look upon them with mercy and not carry out the demolition especially as the moment is not rosy for most of them.
Most people do not have other means of living if they do not sell in this market, so the government taking it away is creating more hunger in a bid to solve one solution. Mohammed in her commented related that the market was just rebuilt not too long a while. Therefore, she wondered the reason behind another reconstruction of the place. “It is not as if the market is collapsing or there is an impending danger if the market is not rebuilt,” Mohammed said.
Monday Ifeanyi, another trader who owns a lock-up shop in the market claimed he is surprised by the decision of the government to rebuild the market when there is no initial complaint from the traders or the buyers concerning the matter. He admitted that the government has taken it as sole responsibility upon themselves to demolish any market they want without even putting the opinions of the people into consideration, or minding the effect this might have on them and their businesses.
It was indeed a pitiable scene when a trader in an open shop aired her comment on the situation in tears. She lamented to New Telegraph that the news of the demolition came to her like a shock which if actually carried out some of them might not recover from it for a long time as some of them might not be able to bear the negative effects that might follow the demolition of the market.
She addressed how unemployment has led so many people to contributing to the social vices in our country and how some others have directed this unemployment issue to other beneficial aspects, but it is quite unfortunate that the country is not even encouraging such people. “Some of us in this market do not have other means of survival, and with our sales in this market, we feed, send our children to schools. So, sending us out of the market is like turning us all to beggars,” she said.
She added that, “the government has been tried to curb immoral acts of youths from the society but when difficult situations like this arises, when will the social vices we are trying to fight not increase, she asked. She however pleaded with the quarters responsible for the proposed demolition to examine their decisions properly if they are really out to serve the people and not their greed.
It was also asserted by another shop owner that the news of the demolition came as a surprise to them but they are praying and trying all possible best to make sure the plan of the government is not actualized. She opined that if this is done for some of them who bare merely retailers would find it difficult to purchase the proposed new shops. “There is no promise made by the government that we can take hook, line and sinker,” she protested.
Arinola Oluwasegun, a trader within the market protested, saying that decision to rebuild the market came from the Agbado/Oke-Odo Local Council and not the state government. “They are planning to build the market into a complex that will end up only to be purchased by the rich, taking our daily means of living from us. There are no genuine reasons for rebuilding the market,” he concluded.
Mr Jiti Ogunye, principal solicitor and counsel for the market leaders, leaders in a press release, April 12, 2018 ; said that, for more than two weeks, the traders sleeplessly had to maintain vigil over the market to prevent demolition of the market, and the threatened burn down of the market.”
On a contrary the chairman of the Agbado/Oke-Odo local council, Dr. Augustine Arogundade said in an interview with New Telegraph through his press secretary that the decision to rebuild the market has been agreed upon before his assumption of office last July. He however stated that the plan of the local council is to rebuild, re-modernize and add beauty to the market, according to him, no one is planning to demolish the market. “The proposal to redesign the market has been signed by the former chairman and the developers. There was actually a transfer of made between the former developers, which we are only trying to actualize”, said the chairman.
The chairman said most of the market leaders have signed the agreement to rebuild the market and this has shown to them that there are more people for the redevelopment than against it, and since some have signed the agreement we will go ahead with the plan, he said. Arogundade opposed the notion held by most of the traders and shop owners that it is solely his idea and some others to demolish the market, according to him as a chairman under a government it is his duty to report whatsoever is happening under his affairs to the state government, so it is all lie and those saying that are liars. “There is nothing we will do at the local government level that the government is not aware of”, he commented.
Speaking also on the unlawful and alleged arrest, charge and detention of some of the markets leaders, the chairman said the arrest was not carried out on his order and he has nothing to do with, arguing that the market leaders were arrested based on other internal disputes they have in their association, and the order of arrest came from federal level. He urged the traders and marketers of the Araromi market to cooperate with the government and allow the re-modernization of the market.