The Lagos State Government on Thursday defended the relocation of traders plying their trade in Owonifari Market within the notorious loop of Oshodi to the newly built ultra-modern Isopakodowo Market in Bolade-Oshodi, saying the action was taken in the overall interest of public good, safety and security.
Speaking during a joint press briefing addressed by the State’s
Ministries of Information and Strategy, The Environment, Physical
Planning and Urban Development, Local Government and Chieftaincy
Affairs, and the Office of Civic Engagement, the Government said it
constructed an alternative market stall for the traders which can
conveniently accommodate over 600 shops and hundreds of kee Clamps, and
agreed to subsidize payment by giving shops at the new market at a
monthly give away price of N5, 000.
Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Steve Ayorinde said
the traders were adequately notified before the exercise took place as
required by law, and that government engaged with the leadership of the
market severally before carrying out the demolition exercise on
While clarifying issues on the demolition which took place on January
5, 2016, Ayorinde said it was important for people to note that the
issue of the market had been on for nothing less than ten years, adding
that government had been engaging the leadership of the market to make
them realize that it could no longer continue in the manner in which the
market was being used.
He said unfortunately, the leadership of the market, in the last
three years, refused to move despite the fact that the new market has
over 600 shops apart from the kee clamps which takes the number of
people that the market could conveniently accommodate to over a thousand
Ayorinde said having been satisfied that government had provided a
befitting alternative, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode through the
Commissioner for Local Government and Community Affairs, invited the
leadership of the market to the Executive Chambers and met with them on
December 16, 2015, where he reiterated his plans for Oshodi and the need
to move the traders to Isopakodowo which as at that time had been ready
for a couple of years.
Giving a further background, the Commissioner said: “A few of them
expressed certain misgivings but largely they felt that if their
interest would be accommodated within the Isopakodowo Market, that they
were willing and ready to move and on our part, we said that the
discussion should be ongoing particularly regarding how much they would
pay for each store within that market.
“After that, on Monday December 21, 2015, Governor Ambode went on a
tour of that market area particularly at Isopakodowo in company with a
few members of the Exco. Again, we met with the leadership of the market
where it was eventually agreed based on the proposition by the
leadership that what they were willing to pay for each shop at
Isopakodowo was N5, 000.
“There is nowhere in Lagos where you will agree to be paying N5, 000
per shop not to talk of the central Oshodi, but the Governor agreed with
them and we said we were ready to concede after which we now formally
served them with a quit notice through the office of the Commissioner
for Physical Planning and Urban Development,” he said.
Speaking further, Ayorinde denied allegation that many goods of the
traders were destroyed in the demolition exercise, adding that such was
far from the truth.
He said: “The intention of government certainly was not to destroy
any goods and we did not destroy any goods because we believe that a
good number of the traders, if not all, had moved because they were
aware that they needed to move.
“Government, I should say, will not be blackmailed because we had
done everything humanly possible and you know that the hallmark of this
government has been compassion. It is a compassionate government.
“The intention was not to destroy the market or destroy properties or
to make life inconvenient for them. We believe very strongly that
Isopakodowo market is quite ideal; its a lot bigger store-per-store than
where they had been removed now and the aim of government, as we stated
earlier, is to ensure that that area of the market conforms with the
type of image that we want Lagos to be, which is to return sanity to the
place, to beautify the market, to construct a world class bus terminus
around that place and to ensure that people who use that place on a
daily basis – the commuters, traders, everybody enjoy what it means to
go to a market in a mega city.
“We also believe that the exercise will largely reduce the gridlock
that is associated with that area and then the criminalities that were
rampant in that Oshodi. What we have done is in the interest of the
generality of Lagosians,” Ayorinde said.
He added: “You will see from the reports that quite a good chunk of
the traders acknowledged that they had been properly served and that
they were ready to move which was why a good number of them, if not all,
parked their things just before the end of last year.
“Along the line, we got intelligence report that during the holidays
there were a number of criminal activities going on in the market and
that the place was harbouring criminals and a number of untoward
activities which of course necessitated the need to move immediately to
safeguard lives, to safeguard properties and to ensure that there was no
breach of peace which was what led to the demolition.”