Traders at the popular Oyingbo Market in Lagos have been counting their losses following its closure by Lagos State government over environmental infractions.

Lagos Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) on Thursday shut the market over indiscriminate refuse dumping and refusal to patronise Private Sector Participation (PSP) operators.

Other infractions included roadside trading and poor hygienic practices resulting in serious environmental problems in the area.

The traders, however, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday that the sudden closure without notice was adversely affecting their businesses.

The Iyaloja of Oyingbo Market, Alhaja Sikirat Sule, told NAN that they have started cleaning up the market to facilitate early reopening of the market by the state government.

“This is the first time this is happening and we were not warned about it.

“The wastes are not from the market, residents living around the market come at night and dumped their wastes along the road.

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“We pay N40, 000 every month for waste disposal and we have paid money to cleaners who would clean up the place,” she said.

The Oyingbo market leader assured that the traders would comply with the state’s environmental laws and appealed to the Lagos State government to reopen the market.

NAN reports that most shops in the market were under lock and key on Friday while workers were busy cleaning up the area.

Mrs Yetunde Fatai, a tomato seller, said she could not access her stall due to the market closure.

“I sell tomatoes and I am really worried because it is perishable produce.

“The shutdown came as a surprise because we were not notified, I don’t know what I am going to do because this is my only source of income,” she said

Another trader, James Ogbonna, a stockfish seller, said that the area was usually littered by commuters.

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“I never expect this because I pay as much as N500/N1000 weekly and yet my shop has been closed down.

“This is so unfair, we always dispose of our wastes properly, most times it is the commuters that litter the area,” Ogbonna said.

Mrs Blessing Taiwo, a fruits seller, appealed to the state government to reopen the market.

“I am appealing to the government to grant us access to our shops because it is from the business we feed and send our children to school

“Since I lost my husband, this is all I do to support my family, I don’t know where else to sell,” she said.

Mr Miracle Akanonu, who shops at the market regularly, expressed support for government’s action because “the market is too dirty”.

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He, however, said that a prior warning should have been given to the traders.

Meanwhile, the Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Mr Tunji Bello, has warned that the State government would no longer condone the excesses of traders who had abandoned the market for the streets.

In a statement, Bello said that despite several warnings, the traders have continued to litter the market, the streets and refused to patronise PSP operators.

He said that activities of traders impeding traffic was unacceptable and charged Oyingbo market leaders to meet the Chairman of Lagos Mainland Local Government to fashion out ways of accommodating the street traders inside the main market.

The commissioner then urged the market leaders to adopt corrective measures by desisting from street trading and patronising PSP operators.

He also warned street traders in other areas like Marina, Agege, Mushin, Alimosho and Obalende that the massive enforcement exercise would soon extend to their domains.

Vanguard News Nigeria.

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