Nigeria Newspapers Online

Panic heightens among market traders over Lagos govt quit notice

Must Read

Traders in the Balogun and Breadfruit markets axis of Lagos Island are anxious as the 14-day quit notice given by the Lagos State Government approaches, writes.

Seated wearily on a generator with clothes on her two hands, Matilda John found solace in the support of a nearby pole, as our correspondent approached.

 John, a lone mother raising three children, faced additional hardship when the Lagos State Government demolished her container shop, exacerbating her challenge of supporting her family.

 “Our business is facing significant setbacks due to the actions of the Lagos State Government. They have dismantled the container that once provided shelter for me and my clothing merchandise, leaving me with no alternative but to sell my products outdoors. The consequence of this is a noticeable decline in customer traffic, as the lack of adequate shelter has impacted our sales negatively.

 “Another problem we have is the Central Business District officials, who are disturbing traders and seizing our goods because of N30,000 levy. I am a single mother of three children. How do they expect us to feed?” she retorted.

In an exclusive interview with , a trader in the market, Chioma Ebele, said the Lagos State Government came to demolish their shop containers without notice.

She lamented, “The owner of the building is still there. However, those of use with containers have nowhere to display our goods.  We are just hanging around. This move would affect me because I just lost my husband seven months ago. So, I am just hanging around hopelessly.”

“I had a kiosk worth N2m, which was demolished. I have just been hawking my clothes, which has led to body pains. I have to take pain relief to be fine. I hope the government builds us another store to help us,” a middle-aged trader, Chukwudi Onyebuchi, declared.

Another trader, whose an extension was removed from her shop, Blessing Chukwuma, decried the act of the Lagos State Government.

She said, “Five of us contributed N100,000 each for the extension, when the dollar had not risen. How do we replace it now with the current economic situation in the country?

“The government left where the fire outbreak occurred to the area without any issue. It is wickedness. I pay N6m as monthly rent. Now, my clothes are under the sun. There is nowhere for customers to sit.”

According to Kingsley Udoh, the Lagos State Government did not give them any notice; they just came on Monday to commence the extension demolition.

“They marked and threatened to demolish some staircases and containers after a 14-day ultimatum.

“When they came on Monday, they spoiled my shade and doors. I have to fix them back. My neighbour, who refused to speak with you, is still in shock as he recorded losses as well,” he lamented.

Another trader sitting in an almost empty shop, Judith Olouebube, said they had to empty the shop because of fear that the government could show up at any time.

She said, “This is my boss’s container. We have our goods here, but we are scared of arranging them, because at the back of the door they wrote ‘remove’.  So, everybody is scared. We rented this container for about N1.5m.

 “The government gave us 14 days. My boss wanted us to wait for the government until the fourteenth day so that if the day comes and no demolition occurs, we can bring back our goods to the shop. We do not have a warehouse. We bring goods for customers based on order and pack the little we display outside and inside the shop once we are going home at night, because of the demolition fear.”

An architect, Ayomide George, asserted that it was an unfortunate case of crying of spill milk, adding that frequent site visitations by the regulatory agencies involved were necessary.

He said, “My condolences go out to those affected, but the truth remains that actions have consequences. When you want to build or rent an apartment or in this case, a shop, it is very necessary to do your due diligence.

“As a potential tenant in a building, the onus is on you to make sure that you don’t inherit problems that aren’t yours. Over time, there have been a lot of demolition exercises carried out by the Lagos State Building Control Agency, enough to make everyone aware that certain building regulation requirements have to be met before construction.”

The Lagos State Government had earlier issued 14 days ultimatum to traders on the Island, to remove all extensions on road setbacks.

reports that the joint operations by the Lagos State Building Control Agency and Physical Planning and Urban Development were against building collapse, traffic congestion, street trading, and environmental infractions.

While the team was going around the market to make announcements on the ultimatum, the General Manager, Lagos State Building Control Agency, Gbolahan Oki, directed the enforcement team to continue the ongoing removal of shanties on Breadfruit Street.

Oki warned traders to remove all extensions, saying owners of buildings would bear the cost of demolition after the expiration of the ultimatum.

He said, “There must be free traffic flow on Lagos Island. The enforcement is a continuous operation that would last for six months to make sure traders vacate the roads and setbacks.”

Speaking with journalists, the Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Dr Oluyinka Olumide, said the state government was enforcing zero tolerance to illegal developments.

He said, “Lagos State was recently rated 19th in the ease of doing business global index and the government would ensure that sanity was restored and sustained in the physical environment. It has zero tolerance for shanties. It is a total cleaning of Lagos Island.

“We cannot tolerate this, as it does not benefit the status of the state. We will continue daily cleaning until we achieve sanity.”

Olumide advised traders who could not get legal spaces in Lagos Island to take their business to other parts of the state.

He declared, “It is not by force to do business on Lagos Island. The government will clear all attachments and extensions to buildings, including staircases. All encroachments on roads, pedestrian walkways, and drains would be cleared on the expiration of the ultimatum.

“We have an agenda in Lagos, which is to make Lagos a befitting state. Recently, it was rated the 19th state in the world, that’s a plus and we want to be number one. People can still do their businesses, but it has to be done in a proper and civilized manner.”

The Special Adviser, Central Business Districts, Bola Olumegbon-Lawal, appealed to traders not to create a nuisance by indiscriminately allocating spaces to themselves.

She said, “We want a conducive environment for every Lagosian between the business district and around. We didn’t permit anybody to sell on the road and government walkways and all attachments to any physical structure must be removed within 14 days.”

Meanwhile, the Director General, Lagos State Safety Commission, Lanre Mojola, said there were lots of fire outbreaks, mainly from generators, advising that safety should come first before economic gains.

He directed, “All generators should be relocated downstairs, adding that none would be allowed upstairs after 14 days.”

Explaining the measures against a dirty environment, the Managing Director, Lagos State Waste Management Authority, Dr Muyiwa Gbadegesin, said waste bins, by law, should be by every shop.

He said, “We are here to return Lagos to its past glory. Most of these shops do not have waste bins; so, they drop their waste into the drainage.

“We are here to support the physical planning so that after the demolition exercise we will be able to pack all the dirt, clear the gutters, and make sure every single shop has a bin.”

The Chief Executive Officer of Magnificent Choice Services Project and Engineering Ltd, Jeremiah Akinsele, said what the state government did was right.

He said, “There is supposed to be a setback in-between buildings, and this has a lot of purpose for fire outbreaks not to extend to another building. A building is supposed to be three metres away from a fence, and the other buildings to prevent infernos from extending from one house to another.

“Lagos State is doing its work, because it is under the town planning laws of the state. This space would create ventilation because it is unhealthy for people around there. There should be a detachment from one building to another.”

According to Akinsele, the 14-day ultimatum was the right thing to have been done by the state government to align with the vision of the THEMES+ agenda.

In the same vein, an environment expert, Adekunle Adeshina, said the ultimatum was of utmost importance to the environment.

He recalled, “One of the excuses that the fire service gave was that it could not gain access with the fire trucks to the Mandilas building that was gutted by fire. And that was because of the extra attachments, structures extension, among others that the traders had illegally constructed.

“The government owes it a duty that the rule for markets is to have bins at the main market itself, and the smaller shops should have refuse bins that would stop the littering of the market environment, having a sustainable environment is very crucial.”

reports that the removal of shanties from streets in Lagos Island started following a fire that occurred in a 10-storey building in Mandilas Market on January 21. It was reported that no fewer than 6,700 traders lost their goods to the fire.

Nigeria Newspapers Telelgram
Nigerian Gospel Radio
Nigerian Gospel Radio

You may 've missed...

Mr Ibu’s death, one too many – Musawa

Mr Ibu’s death, one too many – Musawa Hannatu Musawa Published By: Kazeem Ugbodaga By Taiye Olayemi The Minister of Arts, Culture and Creative Economy, Hannatu Musawa, has expressed sadness over the death of

Latest Updates

See More Stories Like This