Traders at the popular Jakande Fruit Market, Ikosi-Ketu have condemned the demolition of the market by the Lagos State Government.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the demolition started from the Ikosi end of the market on Nov. 8.
A NAN correspondent, who visited the market on Sunday reports that while some traders were doing their normal business, others were salvaging their goods from the debris.
Three lorries carrying plantain at the Ikosi end of the market and others the Ketu end carrying fruits, such as watermelon, oranges, and pineapples were waiting to offload.
Buyers from different parts of Lagos were also seen doing their normal buying.
Some of the traders, especially women, were seen wearing long faces, saying that they were still confused about their fate after the demolition of the market.
One of the women, Mrs. Bridget Akpan, said that there were many stories going around the demolition exercise, adding that she did not know which one to believe.
“There was no notice given to us; we just saw government’s bulldozer, accompanied by security agents on Friday demolishing some areas in the market.
“Nobody has told us anything; we don’t know whether another arrangement is being made for us to be selling our goods and even why they are demolishing the market.
“My goods are still here; I do not have anywhere to go; we are just looking at them,’’ Akpan said.
A plantain seller, Mrs. Iyabo Olugbenga, said that her shop had been demolished, but that she was still selling her plantain within the vicinity.
“I do not know what the government is doing,” she lamented.
A woman selling provisions in the market, Mrs. Juliana Gabriel, said that her shop was among those demolished on Friday.
“I have packed some of my things somewhere and covered them with nylon. We are still trying to find out what is happening.
“Government should leave us alone. The suffering is too much here and whereas, the government is not doing anything for us.
“It is from our efforts here that we feed our families and provide for their needs,’’ she said.
Mr. Abubarka Salami, a pineapple seller, said that many stories were flying around as to why the market was being demolished.
“The point is that many people make their daily living from the market. Not only that, some micro-finance banks have given money to many traders to expand their businesses.
“I know someone who has just collected N100,000 and has not paid one kobo back,’’ he said.
The Babaloja (Leader) of the market and other key officials of the market declined comments on the development when contacted.
However, one of the market elders, who pleaded anonymity, said that the demolition would not extend to other parts of the market.
According to him, the plan by the state government was to rehabilitate and expand the meat section of the market.
He said that the roof of the meat section was removed on Friday, while sand, cement, and planks to be used for the expansion had been procured.
“We have been here for the past 40 years and this is the farmers’ market, not just any market.
“Farmers bring in their goods straight from the farms and we sell and return the money to them to do more farming. So to just wake up one day and start demolishing such a place will not work.
“However, whatever the reason for the demolition will be sorted out,’’ the elder said.
NAN reports that none of the officials of the Ikosi-Isheri Local Council Development Area (LCDA) was available to speak on the matter.
However, one of the security personnel on duty, who pleaded anonymity, said that the demolition squad came from the state secretariat, Alausa, Ikeja.
He said that the chairman and council officials would be available from Tuesday for comments, as Monday had been declared a public holiday.
NAN also reports that the market, though known as the fruits and vegetable market, also has other sections where items such as tyres, meat, dried foods, second-hand clothes, yam, fish and building materials are being sold.
NAN recalls that several attempts were made in 2017 to move the market away from its present location, but were frustrated by the traders and market officials, who said that the relocation of the market would not benefit the citizens.
This eventually led to the on-going development of a new Mile 12 Market at Imota, after Ikorodu.