Hundreds of traders from Ikosi/Isheri market on Tuesday stormed the Lagos House of Assembly to protest the demolition of the Ikosi/Isheri fruit market in Lagos.
The protesters, who were majorly women, carried placards and marched from the market place to the Assembly premises chanting “help us, help us”.
They were carrying placards with various inscriptions like: ‘Re-modeling is a political coined language to sell our market, We say no to it’, ‘The Nigerians of conscience should come to our help’, ‘Governor Sanwo-Olu please help us’, ‘Our market is not to be sold in any form’, ‘We will explore all legal option to stop the satanic demolition of our market’, ‘OYESCO should be called to order’, ‘Our market is our DNA, is not for sale’, ‘Our market is our life line, we will protect it with our lives’, ‘Tinubu Egba wa o. Iketu/Ikosi market belongs to Yorubas, Hausas and Igbos. It must not be sold.’
Leader of the protester, Mrs. Adebukola Adejuwonbi, said their market was being destroyed without proper notification from the appropriate body.
Adejuwonbi indicted the chairman of Ikosi/Isheri local government, Mr. Abdulfatai Oyesanya as the prime mover of the destruction of the market.
“We came from the Ikosi/Isheri fruit market. I am one of the sellers at the market. On Friday morning, We just saw caterpillars breaking down our market without any notice.
“Our leader, as well as the chairman of local government said that if we wait, they will kill all of us.
“We were told they have sold this place for a contractor to build an estate where we are selling our daily foods.
“We can’t challenge them. They were even firing guns at us. Some people died, while some people got serious injury.
“Amist all this, The Chairman of Ikosi/Isheri local government, Fatai Oyesanya was standing upstairs telling the caterpillars to move on and if anyone waits, they should kill all of us.
“And since we don’t have any weapon, we had to run for our dear lives.
“That is why we decided to come here to plead with Lagos Assembly and the Governor to come to our aid and deliver us from this problem,” Adejuwonbi said.
Another leader, Yemisi Balogun, urged the government to come to their aid by helping them to get their market back.
She said that their lives largely depend on the market to cater for the needs of their children and households.
“Since they say that the government is for the people. So, we are here to cry to them that they should come to our aid and deliver us from the destruction of our market.
“It is from the market we get money to send our children to school. By doing this to us, we are going to suffer. That is why we are here to come and plead to intervene in this issue.
“Meanwhile, The market is legal for the purpose we are using it for. If it wasn’t we wouldn’t have been so worried about the destruction. It is Ikosi/Isheri market and it is already approved for market.
“Most of us went to school. It is not everyone that will use his certificate to work in the office. So, that is why we are selling market. Majority of us are educated. So, it is not everybody that will work in the bank, become a civil servant and the others.
“I don’t have father and I don’t have mother. It is from this market I get money to feed my family.
“I am begging the Governor, Sanwo-Olu to please come to our aid because I know he is the father of the people. Demolition of market is not what we need now. What we need now is good roads and free education” Yemisi said.
Balogun noted regular payment of taxes by the traders, adding that such punishment should not be meted on them.
“We pay our taxes and we pay our local government money. So, we don’t know why the chairman should do such a thing and even if he wants to do such, he ought to have called all the market leaders to inform us of the latest development. But he did not.
“This situation has caused a lot of problem. During the vote, they came to us and we did. We did all these without requesting a dime from any politician. Even when they are asking us of our need, we tell them all we need is our market.
“That market is meant for commercial. It is not meant for anything else. It is not as if we are causing hold-up or anything. They did not bring any petition to us before doing anything. So, why would they come and destroy our market” Balogun said.
One of the traders in the market, Ajani Oluranti wondered why it is the market dominated by the Yorubas that are always being sold off.
Ajani pointed out that such is not happening to the northerners doing their businesses in Yorubaland.
He, therefore, called on well-meaning Nigerians to avail themselves and save them from the issue.
“We are Yorubas. The market belongs to the Yorubas. You did not sell off the market that belongs to the Northerners. Why us?
“I want well-meaning Nigerians across all walks of life to come to our aid. It is a slap on them if the market is taken away from us and the Northerners are there planting their market.
“It is incumbent and imperative on the political leaders of south west to come to our aid. The Northerners are planting their business in Mile 12 without any issue. They did not disturb them.
“Whenever there is an issue, they call their political leaders and they spring into action. Even Mr. President springs into action. But why us?” Ajani. said.
A member representing Somolu Constituency 1, Hon. Olowo Rotimi, who represented the Speaker of the Lagos Assembly, Hon. Mudashiru Obasa said that the Local Government Chairman had been called upon to stop forthwith.
He added that moving Lagos forward should be done methodically without causing pains on the people.
“My colleague and I have called on the local government chairman to stop what he is doing now and I know that Mr. Speaker and other colleagues will be interested in this case and they will call the chairman.
“We have told Mr. Fatai Oyesanya to stop forthwith and I am sure we are going to resolve it. I know you will get justice
“If we want to move Lagos forward by doing it in a modern way, we have to do it methodically. We cannot just rush into it.
“Even if they are going to use that for housing unit, they must provide you another location. They cannot just disposess you. You are our mothers. You are our voters. We have your mandate and we must support you at all times. Be rest assured you will get justice” Olowo said.
The lawmaker expressed dissatisfaction with such act without intimating the traders, adding that every activity is methodical.
“And for every situation and activities, there is a process. Even if that market is to be used for housing purposes, it behoves on the local government chairman and the state to have understanding with you.
“If there is need to move you to another location, it has to be done in an appropriate manner. They cannot just come overnight and just destroy your property. It is quite unfortunate.
“Mr Speaker and your House have listening ears. We will report this today at the plenary under Urgent Matters of Public Importance or under report.
“It is quite unfortunate that I am seeing over thousands of women and are our mothers. It was through the same source, we were also groomed” Rotimi noted.