By Esther Onyegbula
A `group of traders in Agboju market, Amuwo-Odofin, Festac Town, Lagos State, has appealed to the state government to stop its task force from demolishing and taking over their source of livelihood in the market.
The traders who would be negatively affected by the forceful proposed takeover of the market alleged that one of them has been behind the recent unrest in the market.
In a peaceful protest, the traders who marched to Amuwo-Odofin Local Government Area were seen carrying various placards with different inscriptions like “Sanwo-Olu save us from land grabbers, ‘we are traders not drug dealers’ among others.
The developer of the land who rented out the market space to the traders, Mr. Gilbert Fulani Okereke said he had an agreement with the government sometimes in 2010 and that the late ‘Iya-oloja’ (market leader), Mrs. Abibatu Mogaji, was a party to the agreement.
According to the developer, “a committee, which was headed by Mr. S.A Ajose, was constituted and I was given the go-ahead to develop the land for a period of 38 years and they promised to give me a letter of approval within 60-days but till this moment, I am yet to get the approval from the government.”
Okereke further said the late Alhaja Mogaji was so kind to him, hence the reason why he named the plaza after her to immortalize her, but some persons are instigating the current Iya Oloja, Iyabo Ojo, against him to take over the market, saying it belongs to her late mother.
One of the affected traders, Ismail Ibrahim, said: “we came here to defend our right. I have been selling in this market for the past 15 years and we are not into sales of illicit drugs as alleged. The betrayer among us has been giving us trouble since she was sent away from the market, threatening us with OPC and thugs”.
Efforts to speak with the chairman of Amuwo-Odofin Council however proved abortive as security agents prevented newsmen from entering the premises.