In reaction to protests by traders at the Owonifari market in Oshodi which was this week demolished by the Lagos state government, the state government on Thursday said the traders were sufficiently informed of the planned demolition and relocation.
The alternative market constructed by the government can conveniently accommodate over 600 shops and hundreds of kee Clamps, and comes with the subsidized payment of N5, 000 monthly, government representatives said on Thursday.
Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Steve Ayorinde said discussions with market leaders on the demolition had been on for at least 10 years, but that the traders had refused to move to the alternative market completed three years ago.
Lagos State Commissioner for Information & Strategy, Mr. Steve Ayorinde (2nd right), addressing the Press on the relocation of Owonifari Market
Ayorinde said Governor Akinwunmi Ambode met with the traders on December 16, 2015, where he reiterated his plans for Oshodi and the need to move the traders to the new Isopakodowo market. The governor also visited the market on December 21, 2015, after which a formal notice to quit was issued.
Ayorinde denied allegations that many goods of the traders were destroyed in the demolition exercise, adding that “a good number of the traders, if not all, had moved because they were aware that they needed to move.”
The commissioner stated that recent intelligence reports had indicated that “a number of criminal activities going on in the market and that the place was harbouring criminals.”
The Guardian reports that Ayorinde further disclosed that the demolition actually confirmed some of the fears of government officials, “as we discovered concrete bunker and arms underneath the shops.”
Source: Lagos State Government Press Release