By Omolara gunwale
The quest for shopping Malls as against Modern market raises plights from citizens in Lagos and traders who explain their ordeal in the last few years from government and other stakeholders. The demolition of several market centers and buildings by governments’ has to a very large extent affected the people and their valuables.
Market women in Alade and Oshodi have called on the new administration in Lagos State to restore modern market and also at affordable for traders,
Rethinking Cities Lagos in collaboration with Heinrich-Boll-Stiftung and Group for Ethics and Sustainable Development organized Lagos bus tour with Journalists among other notable bodies to Alade Market; (both old and temporary site) and Oshodi market (New Terminal).
The tour gave access to old Alade market traders and Oshodi main market traders to share their experiences as traders most importantly the demolition of their various shops. This pave room to discover the progress of the situation and static involve.
The popular Alade market under the supervision of Ikeja Local Government located at Allen Avenue Ikeja was demolished few years ago leaving many traders stranded; a temporary site was provided for them which came with a fee but not environmental friendly due to proximity to a canal .
Speaking with Sumola Daniel an former trader at Alade market who was has been trading in the market for over 30years said “we are not opposing the megacity plan of government but it also require considering the people, we were forced out of our shops at Alade Market on July 16 2016; every development requires inviting all stakeholders but in this case, it was different.
“We were all invited to Onikan Zone 2 on 15 July 2016, and compelled to sign an undertaken not to disturb the peace of the market which we did. The temporary site is not habitable, everywhere becomes flooded whenever it rains, the waste from Wawum in Adeniyi Jones passes through the carnal, as a result some of us got depressed, had health issues, others are redundant at their respective homes while some are late. We are appealing on government to please consider our plight reconstruct the building and make it affordable for us all” she said.
The temporary site lacks certain amenities such as, electricity, water and security among others. Most of the traders in Alade temporary site raise concerns about the environment, low sales, desertion among others. They also said not everyone can afford to rent a shop worth millions of naira; hence government should make the price affordable.
The Market women, through their society called Concern Traders of Alade Market Association, have been awaiting final judgment as the case is currently ongoing at the Federal High Court in Ikeja.
In the same light, Oshodi Main market (Owonifari) was also demolished by Lagos State government leading to the new construction of bus terminal, few months after the demolition Banjoko Memorial Plaza opposite the demolished market which was a temporary site for so many was also demolished leading most of the traders back to the street.
It was gathered that most of the traders lost their goods and money to the demolished buildings hence has led to road side selling, struggling and hawking on the street by so many. The demolition also led to loss of Job of many sales personnel in the markets.
The traders sadly express their loss and challenges, one of the traders identified as Ifeoma a widow of two children said government are demolishing buildings and constructing for the wealthy in the society.
She said, “the government are building Modern Structure without considering the public who occupied and made the place worth it before demolishing, there are several uncompleted projects, malls, among others. We all must make ends meet and that’s why we are back on the street selling, I was selling in two shops at Banjoko Memorial Plaza before it was demolished”.
Chairman, Traders Association, Prince-Hyacnith said “people are suffering under the rain and sun, compensation wasn’t promised but we pay taxes so it’s expected, the land owners of Banjoko Memorial also has compensation to make”, he said.
A trader ] identified as Chukwuma said he got a loan from LSDC in other to get himself a shop at Banjoko Plaza; they were told to pay upfront till 2023, 2 months after the payment the building was demolished without receiving compensation and it has led to LSDC hunting him to make payment of loan received.
Local governments are encouraged to pursuit projects that will provide solutions to the people through the state and Federal government.
For his part, Deji Akinpelu, founder, Rethinking Cities wondered “How many Malls should a State or City have, How many are available and more needed, Does a Megacity need to have all its Market as Malls, Should there be development for all or few, How justifiable is the plan in relations to the people In the society”?
Akinpelu explained that “malls are not the ideal thing, let’s look inwardly for Modern market, if an approach is not working, another attempt should be made. We are not rebuking formality, people affected must be compensated because the truth is no one is leaving Lagos, rather more people keep coming in.”