Traders lament illegal demolition of market in Ikorodu, count losses
Traders at the popular Fadama Market in Ikorodu North local government area of Lagos State have lamented what they described as illegal demolition of their stores by task force officials, who were allegedly guided by armed military operatives. The traders also lamented their losses running into several millions of naira. The Fadama market is along Odogunyan road, opposite the farm settlement after the Lagos State Polytechnic.
According to one of the affected traders, Enajero Darlington Eguriase, who produces livestock feed, a quit notice was served on the traders from the Oba’s palace to leave the market with immediate effect last year. “We went to the palace to stage a protest, asking for proper ways of doing things. We also told them that any form of development was welcomed but we should be properly carried along.
“We pleaded with the Oba that we should be provided an alternative so that we don’t run bankrupt and also protect our goods. The issue was later taken to the court. But against the court order, they started demolishing the market. The court issued an injunction and they stopped. To our amazement, last week Tuesday, October 8, we were given a quit notice stating that we should quit the market within 72 hours. While we were still at a loss over what to do, on Thursday, October 10, 48 hours after they gave us a 72 hour notice, the task force officials came to demolish the market.
“This is not fair, as many businesses have been ruined due to this wickedness. I don’t have anything left right now. They destroyed all my goods. We were not allowed to pick a single thing from our shops. The army and policemen they brought threatened to shoot us if we dare move close to them. My life depended on the shop. We were also barred from taking video. All my industrial machines are lost to the demolition, where will I start from?”
Another trader, who was also affected by the demolition, Onikosi Gbadebo, hinted that about 680 shops were demolished. “They came with armed security officers to harass us. It was disheartening that this action was taken against the court order, even when the next hearing on this matter was scheduled to hold on October 29. It is so sad that the court, which is our last hope for the common, can be disrespected in such manner using security officers paid with taxes from the citizens.
“When we got the 72 hours ultimatum, our lawyer, Oluwaseun Aka, wrote a letter to the Lagos State task force and copied the governor’s office, the Attorney General of Lagos, Area Commander Area N Police Command, Ikorodu and DPO Shagamu Police Station, Ikorodu intimating them that the proposed demolition of the shops at flower bus stop opposite settlement farm, Lasuwon, Okegbegun Village, was an act capable of undermining the authority of the court. Our request fell on deaf ears.”
Gbadebo, who is feed miller at the demolished market, counted his losses to the tune of N5 million, lamenting that all his industrial machines are gone.
Attempts by The Guardian to get reactions from the local government and the Oba’s palace proved abortive as the council officials refused commenting on the development. An official who pleaded for anonymity said queries on the matter should be directed to the state government as the local government is not in control of any task force and cannot mobilise policemen and soldiers.
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