BY MONSURU OLOWOOPEJO
* Traders face tough time returning
Eight months after the popular Breadfruit market, Lagos Island Local Government, was gutted by fire, it has been reopened for trading but the traders are finding it increasingly difficult to resume at their former stalls.
The reopening, which was announced by the office of the Central Business District, CBD, through the Special Adviser, Mrs. Derin Disu after a meeting with the traders with conditions which include: non-conversion of access roads into trading locations, No Sunday trading and others
Fire razed Euroasia Plaza, a five-storey building located at 10/11 Breadfruit Street, housing the stalls and a branch of a commercial bank, on October 27, 2012, prompting the state government to order its immediate closure.
When Vanguard visited the market, it was gathered that the building owned by St. Paul Catholic Church had been cordoned to allow full commencement of business activities.
Traders’ union boss react
The chairman of Traders’ Union, Mr. Arinze Ugonabo told Vanguard that the more than 1, 000 traders heaved a sigh of relief when the market was finally re-opened after months of plea to the state government.
Ugonabo said: “We feel relieved with the reopening of the place. We are happy and we appreciate the effort of the Special Adviser to the governor on CBD, Mrs. Derin Disu for listening to our plea.
“But the over eight months was a very traumatic time for the traders. Our members are yet to recover from the loss because for over eight months, the market premises were unable to serve its purpose. It was painful that the fire occurred at that time. And the building owned by Saint Paul Church, was affected.”
On the conditions
According to the Ugonabo, “The officials of the CBD sent a message to the executives of the market saying they had found the solution to the problem
“After the discussions, the conditions for the re-opening were read out and we accepted them.”
We lost millions daily – Traders
Vanguard gathered that the traders lost over N1 billion during the closure.
The traders lamented that the more than eight months closure crippled the economic activities in the area, saying “larger percent of their customers were still unaware of the re-opening of the market.
Ugonabo however said that the estimate fell short of the huge loss suffered by the traders daily.
According to him, “due to the huge number of the traders and businesses involved no one can give accurate amount lost.
Ugonabo, while pleading with the state government said: “We are hoping that the state will come to our aid and give some kind of compensation to the traders who were massively affected by the closure.
“They should also help us speak with the landlords and our commercial banks. At present, some of our traders are battling to retain their stalls which were very unfortunate. But we are hopeful that the government will come in and help assist the traders return to their formal state. Some of them that couldn’t afford to pay the nine month rent to their landlords are now evicted from their stalls.”