Wednesday, January 6, 2016 5:17 pm
*Market space to give way for bus terminus
Officials of the Lagos State Government stormed the popular Owonifari Market located at the loop in Oshodi today and demolished the market. The market has been in existence for 38 years.
Governor Akinwunmi Ambode had on Tuesday ordered the shutdown of the market as it has become an eyesore to the area.
At least, 1,500 traders have been displaced following the demolition of the market at the early hours of Wednesday.
The market was demolished by the officials of the Lagos State Ministry of the Environment and fully backed by the Lagos State Taskforce on Environmental and Special Offences (Enforcement) Unit.
Government’s bulldozers tore through the market demolishing structures and wares with them.
By the morning of Wednesday, around 7.45am, the demolition was completed.
The traders claimed they were deprived the opportunity to remove their goods before demolition; even after they rushed down to the market with the aim to remove their goods.
It was learnt that a large percentage of the traders whose properties were demolished with the market had travelled home for the Yuletide and New Year celebration.
According to one Sunday Emmanuel, he was unable to remove his goods, saying that he owned a canteen in the market.
He said the demolition had rendered him jobless, as he did not know where to start from, adding that “All I had laboured for all the years are under the rubbles.”
Many traders were lamenting the demolition as they lost multi-million properties to the demolition.
Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Steve Ayorinde had said on Tuesday that the government would relocate affected traders and shop owners to the newly built Isopakodowo market stalls at Bolade area in Oshodi.
Ayorinde, said the move was geared towards the need to sanitize and beautify the entire Oshodi area and bring transformation, in particular, to the Owonifari loop as well as the entire bus stop terminals, which have somewhat constituted a menace and an eyesore within the locality.
According to him, the Owonifari loop would be transformed into an ultra-modern bus terminus with new bus shelters that are befitting of a structured park in a mega city.
He added that the fencing-off of the long stretch of the set-back is being undertaken to assist the Federal Government and the Nigerian Railway Corporation in particular with a view to beautifying it and safeguard lives along the railway corridor by discouraging street trading and indiscriminate use of the space.
Ayorinde said the ongoing fencing-off and beautification of the road set-back from Ilupeju bypass to PWD/Ikeja GRA would constitute the first phase of the transformation of the Oshodi area.
The second phase, he added, would begin from PWD/Ikeja GRA and stretch all the way to Agege/Pen cinema axis.
The commissioner stated further that Lagosians should expect from this transformation exercise, a new Oshodi that would be sane and safe and where both traders and commuters would be pleased to visit and trade. He assured that the traders being relocated have been properly allocated shops within the Isopakodowo market and that the demolition of the loop is in the best interest of the people who should expect a world-class bus terminus there.
Ayorinde reiterated Governor Akinwunmi Ambode’s commitment to bring development to every area of the state. He therefore urged the Local Council Development Areas and other stakeholders to cooperate with the State Government in achieving the governor’s vision of making the 2016 budget work for every citizen in the state.
Photos by Idowu Ogunleye