Traders Protest Market Relocation
At a recent press conference, the traders, mostly women, voiced their displeasure over conditions at the temporary site, calling on the state government to come to their aid.
Alade market has over a thousand shops with three hundred of these being lockup shops. With the latest development, the traders will have no option but make do with the new site, which has a linking narrow road and obvious threat of erosion.
Speaking at the briefing, lawyer for the traders, Jiti Ogunye, urged the state government to desist from ‘rob Peter to pay Paul’ decision that will obviously affect innocent traders in the market.
“Why do they want to concentrate the resources in the hands of individual and sacrifice the interest of 1000 persons, which is not the way a reasonable government should behave. All the mischiefs are going on and the government is not saying anything. If they want to destroy the means of livelihood of the people, they should come out and tell the world their intensions,” he said.
Ogunye also questioned the authority of an appointee council caretaker to threaten the people by demolishing their means of livelihood without their input.
“It took the administration of Jakande to solve major problem facing schools in Lagos; he built schools as a matter of urgency because he recognised what the people needed. We are not against the regulation of markets; if the objective is to renovate, they must engage the people for them to reach a compromise. Even if you want to turn the market to Paris, you must dialogue with the people involved,” he said.
According to the legal practitioner, trading has been central to Lagos right from the time of slave trade, urging the developers to desist from harassing occupants of Alade Market.
But in a telephone conversation with The Guardian, the developer, Lai Omotola said, “we are the first developer in the state to provide a temporary space for shops owner. The people protesting now are the people that want to impeach the Iya Oloja by hiding under the guise of whatever they want to do. I can confirm to you that I was with Iya Oloja General, Sade Tinubu Ojo, where they raise the issue and it was resolved and they accepted to move,” he said.
Omotola, who claimed the protesting traders have hidden agenda, said “They keep protesting despite the fact that they have been told to go and align with the Iya Oloja. I can assure you that we are building world-class shops for them; when we finish and it is not world class, they should hold us to our word.”
He therefore called on all the traders to cooperate with his organisation to ensure the project is completed in due time.