18th June, 2010
Traders at Aranmoleti-Eso ECOWAS Market, Ebute Ero, Lagos Island, yesterday stormed the Lagos House of Assembly to protest against the planned demolition of the market.
Speaking on behalf of the protesters, their leader, Alhaja Iyabode Dangre, said two men had been going to the market along with some armed policemen, threatening the traders.
The last visit by the men and their cohorts, according to Dangre, was last week Thursday, when they shot sporadically in the air to scare the traders away from the market.
The market leader said that the two men were determined to unlawfully take over the market, which she disclosed had existed since 1977, when the place was a slum, adding that the traders were duly registered with the Association of Market Men and Women of Nigeria.
According to her, the traders were engaged in legitimate businesses and had been paying their taxes regularly, adding that the market was duly registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission.
Alhaja Dangre also informed the lawmakers that the traders had petitioned the Inspector-General of Police and the state Commissioner of Police over the matter.
The lawmakers were also informed that the matter is before Justice Oke Lawal of a Lagos High Court and the court had restrained officials of the Ministry of Works, their privies, agents and servants from interfering with the matter.
Responding, Deputy Speaker, Bola Badmus-Olujobi, commended the protesters for choosing a peaceful demonstration and told them that the House would look into the matter and thorough investigation conducted.
She said that government could not afford any crisis in Lagos, particularly Lagos Island that was considered the commercial nerve centre of the state, adding that some members of the House may visit the market in the course of their investigation.
â€œWe will surely look into the matter and I can assure you that the right thing will be done,â€ Badmus-Olujobi assured the traders.