November 15, 2019

‘Protest: No going back on redevelopment of Ketu Fruit Market in Lagos’

Ketu, Lagos

Debunks claim to convert property to residential estate

By Olasunkanmi Akoni

Chairman of IKosi-Isheri Local Council Development Area, LCDA, Abdulfatai Oyesanya, has said that the council would not renege on the ongoing remodelling and redevelopment of Ketu Fruit Market into an international standard.

The clarification came following intense protest by some aggrieved displaced traders who claimed the management of the council had plans to convert the property into a residential estate.

Some organised traders had staged a demonstration to the state House of Assembly during this week, to protest the demolition of the Ketu Market by council officials, alleging the management of plans of undue displacement.

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Oyesanya made the remarks, Friday, at a media briefing on the backdrop of the protest aimed at clarifying the stance of the council on the redevelopment project and assurance of reallocation of the shops to bonafide and intending traders on completion of the project.

According to the chairman, “After due consultations with stakeholders, including royal fathers, and organs of state government, there was agreement on the redevelopment of the market into a befitting structure. There is no one that matters that we didn’t carry along in this project.

“As a responsible and responsive government, we can’t convert the market into a residential estate.

“It is our pride and heritage, but modernity can’t allow us to leave it the way it has been. That’s what informed the redevelopment.

“The security report has it that series of nefarious activities going on there, ranging from; armed robbery, dealing in hard drugs, rape, among other nefarious activities.

“There are a lot of illegal traders in the market. We scarcely make N200,000 monthly rent from the market

“This administration is not interested in denying anyone of their right by displacing them. The protesters are being used by external forces to stall the redevelopment project. This is a Public-Private Partnership, PPP, on Build, Own and Transfer, BOT, which will take 30 years to transfer back to the government.”

Oyesanya, however, assured that traders who are still willing to return will be reallotted upon completion of the redevelopment project.

The management of LCDA had awarded the reconstruction of the dilapidated market to a contractor, Total Value Integrated Service Limited, which had committed about N2.8 billion for the project.

One of the local Coordinators of the Oodua Peoples Congress, OPC, in the area, Adebowale Adetona, said they were informed some weeks ago that they were coming to demolish the market, but that they did not notify them of the latest development.

But Chris Onyekachi, Managing Director, Total Value Integrated Service Limited, when contacted told newsmen that the traders were given adequate notice to vacate the market for redevelopment, adding that series of meetings were held with the traders union, traditional rulers and council members on the proposed reconstruction of the market.

“We gave them notice three weeks ago which has expired and we gave them another seven days notice to move their wares to other areas of the market. They are aware,” he said.

“We held meetings with the Iya Olojas, Baba Olojas (Market leaders) and we agreed on the mode of demolition. Some people kicked against it and because we want peace to reign, we met with the obas and we saw reasons why the market should be reconstructed. Some miscreants don’t want the redevelopment. We are not interested in chasing people away from the market. Those who own shop earlier will be considered first in re-allocation at a discounted rate.

“We want to upgrade the market to meet the Lagos megacity standard and we are doing it in phases. We will not shut the whole market. The development will be in four phases and the market occupies 25 acres. We have 18 months duration to rebuild the market and we are investing about N2.8 billion in the reconstruction. The reconstruction of the first phase will begin in January,” he said.