Scores of traders from Ikosi-Isheri on Tuesday stormed the Lagos State House of Assembly, protesting against the demolition of their market in the State.
They accused the Chairman of Ikosi-Isheri Local Council Development Area (LCDA), Mr. Fatai Oyesanya, of being behind their travail.
The protesters, who were majorly women, came out en masse, carrying placards, marched from the market place to the Assembly, chanting “help us, help us”.
The inscriptions on the placards include: “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 Sanwoolu , 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, e gba wa o. Iketu/Ikosi market belongs to Yoruba, Hausas and Igbo. It must not be sold.
Speaking on the rationale behind the protest, one of the leaders, 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 brain behind the destruction of the market.
“We came from the Ikosi/Isheri fruit market. I’m 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 at 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 injuries.
“Amidst 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 decide 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 depended on the market to cater for the needs of their children and household.
“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 not, 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 engage in selling. Majority of us are educated. So, it is not everybody that will work in the bank or 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’ m 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” Balogun said.
She added, “The 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?”
One of the traders in the market, Ajani Oluranti, questioned why it was the market dominated by the Yoruba that are always being sold off.
Ajani alleged that such was not happening to the northerners doing their businesses in the Yorubaland.
He, therefore, called on well-meaning Nigerians to avail themselves of the issue.
“We are Yoruba. The market belongs to the Yoruba. We did not sell off the market that belongs to the northerners. I want the well-meaning Nigerians across the walk of lives to come to our aid. It is slaps 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 own political leaders and they sprang into actions. Even Mr. President sprang into actions. But why us?, Ajani said.
Responding to the demands, a member representing Somolu Constituency 1, Hon. Rotimi Olowo who represented the Speaker of the Lagos Assembly, Hon. Mudashiru Obasa, said 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 colleagues 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 dispose 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.
“And for every situation and activity, there is a process. Even if that market is to be used for housing purposes, it behoves 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,” Olowo said.
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