Monday, February 22, 2016 6:21 am
The bulldozers would arrive on 29 February at the popular Lagos market in Daleko, but traders are already jittery over the outcome: being left without a stall to sell their wares.
Such was the apprehension of a trader at the Market in Mushin, Lagos on Sunday when he fainted as he saw a group of women visiting the market ahead of its planned demolition by the Mushin Local Government.
The trader, called Alhaji Baba Chori, a rice and animal feeds’ seller, was among other traders in the market who alleged that they were only given 14 days within which to vacate the market.
The traders told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that they were served the notice on Feb. 13 that the market would be demolished on Feb. 29.
Chori fainted on sighting the team talking about the planned market demolition.
The trader, who said he had been in the market for 25 years, was later revived at a nearby medical centre.
He later told NAN that he had thought the planned demolition was a rumour.
“The other traders have been talking about it but I did not believe until I saw the Iyaloja of Lagos, in company of other government officials talking about the market demolition.
“I have been in this market in the last 25 years; where do they want me and other poor traders to make a living?” he asked.
NAN learnt that the demolition was to pave way for the building of an ultra-modern market.
Some of the traders told NAN that they did not know what their fate would be when the market was eventually rebuilt.
They urged the state government to intervene in the matter by ensuring that the rebuilt shops were allocated to traders in the market.
The Iyaloja-General of Lagos, Mrs Folashade Tinubu-Ojo, who was among the women that visited the market, told NAN at the scene that she had no comments on the matter.
Efforts to get the Executive Secretary of Mushin Local Government also failed.
One of the traders, Mrs Okunade Adewunmi, said the demolition of the market was uncalled at this period, though it was gutted by fire on May 18, 2015.
Adewunmi, a groundnut oil seller at the market, said the traders paid their rents regularly to Mushin Local Government and wondered why they were treated unfairly.
“For now, most of the traders owe various creditors because of the loss they incurred during the fire incident.
“We (traders) also rebuilt the market after the fire incident and we are just recovering from the fire incident.
“We appeal to the state government to leave the traders in the market for now,” she said.
Another trader, Mr Adebayo Egunjobi, told NAN that the traders were shocked to receive the message to leave the market within 14 days.
Egunjobi said that demolishing the market would have a serious implication on both the traders and buyers because the market was known to be a rice and palm oil market in Lagos.
“We are not illegal occupants; if that is the wish of the government, they should relocate the traders to another market.
“We are all aware of the current economic crunch the country is going through; they should not turn us to beggars,” he said.(NAN)