By Olasunkanmi Akoni
Hundreds of traders evicted from under the Apongbon Bridge area following outbreak of inferno which gutted the bridge, have taken to streets, appealing to the Federal and Lagos State Governments to shelve planned relocation and demolition of shops erected at their new location on Lagos Island.
The traders, who stormed the Lagos House, Ikeja, on Thursday, in a peaceful demonstration, said that displacing them from their new site would further put them in a difficult condition after goods worth millions of naira were destroyed during the fire disaster that gutted over 500 shops sited under the bridge.
They lamented that any decision to displace them from their new location could further cut their source of income and put everyone of them in additional debt which they may not be easily offset when evicted from their newly found settlement.
The affected traders, said that after the fire incident at the market, it had been difficult for them to continue their trade effectively as they do not have any other alternative place than their present location.
In their unanimous voice, they lamented that after they had vacated the Apongbon Under Bridge market, and had to move to a loop nearby to continue their businesses in order to cater for their family but they were also driven away by some law enforcement personnel.
During the protest, one of the affected traders, Iyabo Deborah, said that the Iyaloja General, Folashade Tinubu-Ojo, gave her approval for their protest, as well as the governor, who had earlier been sent a letter as regards their demonstration.
According to Deborah, “The law enforcement personnel who chased us out from under the bridge which we were managing had threatened to return next week Monday to evacuate us from where we are right now, a new site.”
Appealing to the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, they requested that they should be allowed to remain in their new location, continue trading and inorder to maintain their daily source of livelihood without any hitches.
The traders, therefore, appealed to both governments, particularly the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, that they should be allowed to continue their businesses.
However, as of press time, there was no government official to attend to the protesters at the gate of the government’s house.
The fire outbreak which claimed over 500 shops and consequent closure of access road around Apongbon has led to daily gridlock on the Eko and Carter Bridge axis.