By MONSUR OLOWOOPEJO
…We are unhappy, we lose N500 million daily — Trader
…We can’t quantify number of structures to go — Traders President
…Anya tasks traders on compliance with sanitation law
Lagos state government, Monday, commenced demolition of illegal structures erected along the drainage channels at the Ladipo Auto spare parts market, Mushin Local Government.
This came barely 24 hours after the state governor, Babatunde Fashola, visited the market to inspect the traders’ compliance with the state sanitation law 2010.
Deputy chairman of the Lagos State Taskforce on environmental and Special offence, Olajide Agboola while addressing the marketers said that the directive to remove the structures erected beside the canal was based on the order of the state governor.
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, Sunday, undertook an inspection of Nigeria’s biggest auto spare parts market, in Ladipo, Mushin Local Government Area, closed last Monday over environmental degradation, declaring that the Government would reopen it for business once the traders spearhead a clean-up exercise and formally undertake that never again would they allow trading to take place on the road or the edges of the canal.
The market was shut in the early hours of Monday following repeated warnings and visits by the Commissioner for Environment, Mr. Tunji Bello and the Chairman of the Taskforce on Environmental and Special Offences, CSP Bayo Sulaiman, which were not heeded.
However, the Governor’s visit on Sunday to assess the situation of the Market followed pleas by the traders and the leadership of the Igbo Council in Lagos State led by Professor Anya O. Anya, who visited the State House, Ikeja last Monday to present the new Council members to the Governor.
Though no trading was going on when the Governor visited, evidence of the environmental degradation which led to the closure could be found on the damaged roads in the area, disused piles of spare parts and the shanties used for trading on the sides of the canal.
Speaking to newsmen after the inspection during which he also addressed leaders of the traders, Governor Fashola, who described the state of the Market and its environs as “massive degradation of a section of Lagos”, however, said the good thing in the visit was that the traders had seen the lack of caution in their deed and were ready to make amends.
“It is a massive degradation of a section of Lagos and this is not acceptable. People should not carry on like this. But what is, perhaps, worthy of note is that those who are involved have seen the error of what they have done here and are ready to work with us to clean-up and I have said here that they must take the lead”, the Governor said.
Speaking particularly about the Canal in the market blocked by refuse from the traders, Governor Fashola said, “The Canal there poses a lot of danger and we are expecting heavy rains. I don’t want to come back here to pick any dead body. We built the canal and we must make it work by not trading on it and not dumping refuse in it”.
“People told me that they picked engine parts, spare-parts and other things from the canal. It must stop”, the Governor said adding that there is now an agreement between the traders and the Government to work together to clean up the place and continue with the business there.
We can’t quantify number of structures to go — Traders President
Speaking on the demolition, President Ladipo Auto Dealers’ Association, Mr. Ikechukwu Animalu said he could not quantify the number of structures that would be affected by the demolition but all the structures erected closer to the canal will be demolished.
Vanguard gathered that more than 20 stalls erected within the restricted area were already marked by the state government.
Animalu added “Let the owners of structures sited beside the canal accept the demolition. We have to do it because we can’t hold the entire market with over 30, 000 shops to ransom.
“The governor said that we must remove all the structures erected within 15 metres on both sides of the canal and those erected along the drainage channels”.
According to him, “we are ready to comply with the state government’s directive, that was why we called our members and they arrived as early as 7:00 am to begin the demolition process and cleaning of the premises.
“We are ready to end street trading in the market. Anyone who is trading on the street will be arrested”.
Also speaking, Mr. Ezeigbo Nkire another market leader, said “we begun the cleaning of the market to ensure that the market be reopened for the commencement of business activities. And we have been told that if we comply with the sanitation standard of the state, the market would be reopened by Wednesday.”
We are unhappy, we lose N500 million daily — Trader
Another trader, Ray Okpabia said “we aren’t happy with the closure of the market and the reason for this is that we pay our taxes regularly. But we have no option than to yield to the state government directive.”
That was why we all begun to clean the premises. And we have started to remove some of the structures erected beside drainage channels.
We have resolved to assist some traders whose shops may be affected by the demolition exercise.”
Okpabia who is also the financial secretary of the market said that since the closure of the market, the entire market has lost N500 million daily.
Also speaking Mr. Matthew Ikechukwu urged the state government to consider their plight and reopen the market, ito enable them to commence business activities again.
Also reacting, Kingsley Ikechukwu said; “The market was shut due to non compliance with the state sanitation law 2010 on street trading.
“In as much I agree with the state government on the closure, I believe that the government should also understand that most shops shut may result into people engaging themselves in some ill vices. And the reason is that their sources of income have been shut. The closure is affecting many traders’ source of income.
“We are also calling on the state government to help create a central dump-site for the marketers to dump their refuse easily. The lack of central dumping site in the market also contributed to the sanitation challenge facing the market.
“We are appealing to Governor Babatunde Fashola to direct the Lagos State Waste Management Authority, LAWMA, boss, Dr. Ola Oresanya to construct a central dump site for the market that has more than 20, 000 members.
Anya tasks traders on compliance with sanitation law
The founding Director-General of Nigeria Economic Summit Group, Prof. Anya O. Anya yesterday visited the closed Ladipo auto spare part market, Mushin Local Government and tasked the traders to comply with the state government sanitation law 2010.
Anya who addressed the hundreds of traders at the market noted that the state government will only open the market when they comply with the state government sanitation standards.
According to him, “You traders should thank your creator that it is Lagos state government. If it were other states, the government may not create a platform for the traders and its officials to meet and discuss issues concerning the market.”
He urged the marketers to urgently evacuate the dirt, saying “the sooner the traders complied with the state government directives, the sooner the market would be re-opened”.