Lagos Traders Lose N2.1bn To Closed, Demolished Markets | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Lagos Traders Lose N2.1bn To Closed, Demolished Markets

mile 12
Posted: Mar 9, 2016 at 11:26 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

Augustine Adah, Lagos

The spate of closure and or demolition of markets in Lagos State have taken far reaching economic toll on traders and the citizenry, according to investigations by Independent.

In the last three months, no less than two markets, where about 10 million households depend on for their livelihood have been demolished by the Lagos State government. The list includes Oshodi and Ladipo markets. Mile 12 market was recently closed after clashes between the Yorubas and the Hausas.

Independent learnt that loss of goods and trading opportunities is in the region of N2.1 billion since January this year.

While the traders and residents groan, the Lagos State government says the demolition is part of plans by the current administration to redevelop and improve market conditions for the safety of traders and their customers.

Independent gathered that markets like Jakande in Ketu, and Alade in Ikeja are also billed for redevelopment just as the Tejuosho Market in Yaba.

The traders displaced in Owonifari market in Oshodi and Ladipo are still counting their losses months after the exercise. The temporal closure of the Mile 12 market last week seemed to have capped the worries of the traders.

Akinwunmi Ambode, governor of Lagos State, last week, ordered the temporal closure of the market following ethnic clash that claimed lives of some people. But Alhaji Haruna Muhammed expressed shock over the decision of the Lagos State government to shut the market because the ugly incident that claimed some lives, according to him, did not happened in the market, that a week into the closure more than N500 million has been lost by traders.

“As I speak, hundreds of trailer loads of perishable foodstuffs are waiting on the Ibadan Expressway,” he said.

Kabir Abdullahi, a tomato hawker in the market, told Independent that before the closure of the market last week, he normally makes between N500 to N1000 daily as profit. He appeals to the government of Ambode to come to the aid of traders by reopening the market.

Independent checks reveals that traders of perishable items like tomatoes, pepper and water melon were worst hit by the closure of the market, which many traders said came to them unprepared.

This is not the first time the state government would close the market. In 2012, the market was shut by Babatunde Fashola, former governor of the state, for about five days. At that time, traders lamented that they lost several millions of naira. Apart from traders, government also lost substantial amount as revenue to the closure of the market.

The temporal closure of Mile 12 market has increased trading activities in other local markets in the state. For instance, trucks loaded with tomatoes and pepper were now being offloaded around Lasunwon, Ikorodu for customers around the area. The same thing is also happening in Mowe along Lagos Ibadan Expressway and other parts of Lagos State.

Similarly, some traders whose shops were demolished at Owonifari market in Oshodi are complaining. Kenneth Chukwuma, a dealer on trouser materials and men wears at the Owonifari market in Oshodi revealed that the exercise has forced him to temporarily move his family from Lagos because the situation became unbearable for him after his shops were demolished in January.

“As I am talking with you, my business is in shambles. I have lost the initial capital I borrowed to start the business and thinking of where to start from again,” he said.

Engr. Sunday Kudehinbu, Lagos State Coordinator, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), National Youth Vanguard, stated that the demolition of the Oshodi and Ladipo markets was a deliberate effort of the APC led government to financially disarm traders in those markets who were mainly Igbos.

“It was a calculated effort by the government to punish our Igbo brothers in those markets,” he declared. Kudehinbu expressed disappointment that the government failed to provide an alternative place for the traders before embarking on the demolition.

“We are not against development, but when you want to demolish the market, you first provide an alternative place for the people.” The PDP leader dismissed the claim that an alternative place have been provided by government saying no petty trader can afford to pay between N350,000 and N400,000 to erect a shop at Arena.

However, the Lagos State government claimed it did not intend to put people out of business and increase poverty in the state.

Speaking during a joint press briefing to justify the action of the government by different ministries including Information and Strategy, Environment, Physical Planning and Urban Development, Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, and the Office of Civic Engagement, the government said it had constructed an alternative market stalls for the traders which can conveniently accommodate over 600 shops and hundreds to be given away at the cheap price of N5,000.

Mr. Steve Ayorinde, Commissioner for Information and Strategy, said that traders were adequately notified before the exercise took place as required by law and that government had been in talks with the leadership of the market for a good number of years before carrying out the demolition exercise on Owonifari Market.

Leaders of market associations at the Mile 12 market disclosed that they have been losing N300, 000 every day since the market was shut last week. They claimed that by the time the market was shut several food items especially the perishable ones like tomatoes, pepper, cucumbers, among others, were either in various trucks waiting to be off loaded or on the way to Lagos and were all perished within three days.

Haruna Mohammed, Chairman, Perishable Foodstuff Association, who regretted the unfortunate incident that led to the closure of the market on March 3, said traders have lost over N2 billion between last week and Wednesday this week. Apart from traders, the closure of the market has taken its toll on truck pushers and food vendors who depend on the market to eke a living.

Ibrahim Iliyasu an indigene of Kano State reside in Mile 12 market and off loads food items from trucks which earn him between N800 and N1500 a day.

“I earn between N8000 and N15000 every day depending on the number of trucks that enters the market, but since last week, I have not earned a kobo because this is the only thing I do every day,” he lamented.

Similarly, a food vendor who did not want her name mentioned, told Independent that she use to cook rice and beans worth N5, 000 to N6000 and finish selling before noon but since the market was closed, she hardly sell up to N1,000 a day. “As you see me it is only God I depend, because I will only come here and be sitting down,” She said.

However, Shehu Usman, Publicity Secretary Perishable Foodstuff Association applauded governor Akinwunmi Ambode governor for his timely intervention in closing the market in order to forestall break down of law and order but appeal to the governor to re-open the market in order to avoid further loss by traders.

Shehu regretted that the unfortunate incident that led to the closure of the market was not caused by traders in Mile 12 because it happened in Agility a community of about 2 kilometers away from the market. “It is unfortunate that Motorcycle operators stay close to the market which made it possible for the market to be joined in the clash,” he said.

Contrary to information that the markets were demolished without notice, a resident of Oshodi close to the demolished market who did not want his name to be mentioned in the press told Independent that government gave enough notice since the administration of Babatunde Fashola but some of the traders did not want to move.

Commenting on the matter, Joe Igbokwe, Publicity Secretary, Lagos State chapter of All Progressives Congress (APC), said the decision to relocate the market has been ongoing for a long time but traders have been resisting all appeal by the government and even went to court on the matter. He described as unfortunate the claim that the demolition was targeted at Igbo traders. He appealed to traders to always understand with government in its effort to make lives better for the people.