Many troubles of Mile 12 market
NOTED for its unending baskets of Kpomo, tomatoes, Shaki, Ugwu, live chicken, goat meat and fresh farm products, Mile 12 Market located along Ikorodu Road in Kosofe local council of Lagos is indeed a point of call for many families in Lagos and environs.
However, the over 40-year old market, which has been a source of livelihood for many Nigerians had its fair share of troubles in recent times.
When the trouble is not about waste disposal challenges, environmental and traffic hiccups, it would be leadership tussles between shop owners and traders (mainly from the northern parts of the country) or fire outbreaks.
Recently, the Mile 12 part of Lagos/Ikorodu Express road is notorious for perennial traffic snarls caused by traders, who, on daily basis, display their goods on more than half of the road to the detriment of motorists and other road users.
Commuters and residents in Ikosi-Ketu, Agiliti, Thomas Laniyan Estate, Owode-Onirin, Agboyi, Ajegunle Owodelede, Maidan, Isheri North Scheme and environs, are subjected to hectic time passing through the road because of the activities in the market.
Not even the rehabilitation of Ikorodu road by the state government has stopped the notorious gridlock on the road.
In time past, the state Commissioner of the Environment accompanied by a team of Taskforce on Environmental Sanitation, the Kick Against Indiscipline (KAI) brigade and the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) had shut down the market over what it called “unsanitary habits and non-compliance with environmental laws.”
The market was only re-opened after traders in the 10 associations in the market signed a letter of undertaking agreeing, amongst other things, to always keep the market clean. They also agreed to relocate illegal street traders away from the road.
But when the situation persisted, there were reports of plans by government to relocate the market.
The recent fire incident in which about two people were confirmed dead and property worth millions of Naira destroyed has heightened fears that the state government might be considering the relocation of the market as a last resort.
Government hinted that it would relocate the Mile 12 and Ajelogo Markets in Owode-Onirin, Agboyi-Ketu Local Government Area to Ikorodu. The two markets were to form the take-off of the proposed Ikorodu Regional market, a 500-shop edifice sitting on almost 90 hectares of land on the Ikorodu-Epe Expressway, which will come with a large parking lot, a trailer park, a ram market and other conveniences.
The Guardian learnt that the fire, which started at about 4:45am, consumed at least 20 shops, five motorbikes, one car, three buses and two trucks. Two dead male bodies were also recovered from the shops before the fire was put out at 8.40am.
Although, the General Manager of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), Femi Oke-Osanyintolu, has hinted that preliminary investigation into the inferno showed that petroleum products were stored in the shops, the inferno heightened fears among traders that government might harp on the incident to evoke the relocation plan.
A trader in the market, Mallam Isiaka Jubril, said it was not the first time the issue of relocation is coming out. Jubril, who has been in the market since 1999, said in 2008, government hinted that it would relocate the Mile 12 and Ajelogo Markets in Owode-Onirin, Agboyi-Ketu Local Government Area to Ikorodu.
According to him, the two markets were to form the take-off of the proposed Ikorodu Regional market, a 500-shop edifice sitting on almost 90 hectares of land on the Ikorodu-Epe Expressway.
He said: “The then Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Mr. Fransisco Abosede, has stated that the market, which architectural design is expected to begin within the first quarter of next year, will come with a large parking lot, a trailer park, a ram market and other conveniences.
According to the trader, this might be another antic of government to drive the traders away from the market because it has happened before.
Another trader, who simply gave her name as Iya Biriki, said the traders know that when such incident occurs, there are always consequences. She, however, expressed fears that people like them might not be able to secure a spot in the new place.
Meanwhile, an official of the state Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development, denied any knowledge of plans to relocate the traders. The official said the relocation may come some day but not in the immediate future.
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