23rd May, 2014
The crisis surrounding the proposed demolition of Ogba Retail Market is yet to abate as the traders association have faulted the move spearheaded by Bisi Yusuf in the Lagos State House of Assembly to demolish the market.
The traders in a letter dated 21st of May, 2014 and signed by Chief Mrs Alhaja Ganiyat Kasumu, the Iyaloja and the entire market association decried what they described as “False presentation of verbal agreement between the Ogba retail market traders association and Bisi Yusuf to the Lagos State House of Assembly.”
Iyaloja Kasumu noted that a petition dated 18 September, 2013 was sent to notify the house and series of meetings were held with Yusuf after the first one held in October, 2013.
“However, we had received offers from the Chairman of Ojodu LCDA, Oloro and counter offers were made. Similarly, we were repeatedly assured that certain conditions would be met before the market can be considered for upgrading. We were also told that Lagos State Government does not wish to bring untold hardship upon tax payers and the electorate.
“Meanwhile, during a sitting at the House of Assembly on Monday 19, May 2014, we were shocked about what happened during the meeting,” she said.
According to Kasumu, ”we became spectators and there was no opportunity to respond. Our agreement was based on the provision of a suitable temporary relocation site within a walking distance from the present location and has been repeated several times yet no provision has been made regarding it. The only suggestion made by the Chairman of Ojodu LCDA was a Primary School compound close to the market, this was completely rejected because of the distraction to
the young primary school children. In the addressed of Bisi Yusuf of the Lagos State House of Assembly Committee on Transportation, Commerce and Industry, said that 250 containers have been provided for the traders and we are unaware. “Also, the chairman of Ojodu LCDA, Oloro had earlier introduced Enterprise Bank as their banker. But we are now surprised to hear that Ecobank and Wema Bank are the banks. “Consequently, the developer had printed a brochure now on sale depicting a huge mall. Our concern is that we do not want the market to end up as an abandoned project or a white elephant project. Thousands of traders earn their livelihood from the market.”
Iyaloja General, Sade Tinubu-Ojo made a surprise visit to the market on Wednesday evening for on the spot assessment and called for a truce.
She urged the traders to make peace and ensure that the environment is clean, assuring them that the market that has been shut since Sunday will be
reopened for business.
Bisi Yusuf said the Chairman of Ojodu Local Council Development Area (LCDA), Mr Julius Oloro, must ensure that he meets with the traders to resolve all the grey areas associated with the demolition before the exercise is carried out.
Yusuf added that traders should be carried along in the redesigning of the market.
The committee members on Monday held a peace meeting with the officials of the council and leadership of the market at the Assembly complex.
The committee members had directed the officials of the council to meet with the occupiers of the market last year and up till now the council was yet to comply.
“Nobody is contesting the re-development project since the market is under the jurisdiction of the council; what the Assembly is saying is that you must meet the people of the market on how the market will be re-developed; there is need to carry them along.
“The council should not impose its decisions on the occupiers, there must be dialogue between the two parties,” Yusuf stated.
A member of the Assembly earlier in their meeting, Funmi Tejuoso, complained about the 25% allocation and Agunbiade posited that no chairman has ever built a new market except demolishing existing ones and after completion, they allocate to family and friends at the expense of the original shop owners.
Another lawmaker, Hassan added his voice to the issue, According to him, “there is no human face in the whole process, how do they expect a petty trader to pay N800,000 for a stall?”
As the battle rages on, the traders are calling on the Lagos State House of Assembly to intervene before the situation gets out of hands.