Traders protest illegal displacement, tasks Sanwoolu
Displaced Artisans and traders at the Planks and Building Materials market at Oja- Oba in Isheri Olofin,Egbe-Idimu Local Council Development Area a subset of Alimosho Local Government have pleaded with Governor Babajide Sanwoolu, to restore them back to the market.
The traders, under the aegis of Planks and Building Materials Dealers Association, at a press parley on Tuesday, lamented illegal and unconstitutional manner they were ejected from the market, by an alleged land grabber whom they said enjoyed the backing of the LCDA coumcil boss, Monsuru Olowoopejo.
Aside that the traders who were unjustifiably ejected from the market, noted that their leaders and some others were arrested and subjected to inhuman treatment by the police Command in the area.
Oja-Oba planks and building materials market, was said to have been demolished while goods worth millions of Naira were destroyed, after the traders were given a week to leave, by the lawyer to the land grabber, whom they said is a Prince to an Oba in the area.
They also claimed that some of them who attempted entering the market to salvage their goods during the demolition, were beaten to coma by the said land grabber’s armed thugs.
The traders wield placards with different inscriptions some of which reads; “we are Citizens of Nigeria”, “we pay our local government permit”, “our market still remains ours”, “save our souls from land grabbers”, “save our market from destruction”, “Lagos State government, come to our rescue”, trouped out to drum home their demands.
Comrade Ajibola Owodunni Ganiu, the Vice President of Lagos State Planks Market Association, narrated how the members of the association acquired the land for market activity from Idimu LCDA some years ago with approval.
He said that the traders started their businesses and were paying all the necessary fees due to the LCDA until recently when a developer, through his lawyer, brought seven days quit notice and ordered them to vacate the market.
They contacted the State Ministry of Agriculture, which is in charge of the market and was looking into the matter before the developer wrote a petition to the Police at Area M and three of their leaders were summoned but later released on bail.
He said while the matter was being resolved by the Area Commander, some thugs were sent to the market, who destroyed their goods and fenced the whole market. Comrade Ganiyu said when they got back to the Area Commander, he referred them to the Ministry and Idimu LCDA insisting that it was a civil matter.
He said since then, they have not accessed the market, while traders including him received serious beating and they were taken to hospital for treatment.
Also speaking on the development, Akanni Peter, the Association’s Task Force Chairman, described how the land grabber, the LCDA and the police collaborated in destroying the traders’ livelihood.
A trader in the market, Mrs. Victoria Babatunde, while appealing to Governor Sanwoolu to restore them back to the market, lamented that since the market was illegally demolished, many of them have been living from hands to mouth.
She therefore urged the Governor, as a matter of urgency, to set up panel of enquiry to the land grabber’s illegal activity and and restore them back to the market.
In the same vein, the action of the land grabber has been condemned by a human rights group, Centre for Human and Socio-economic Rights (CHSR), which equally called on the State government to intervene on the matter.
CHSR President, Comrade Alex Omotehinse, also called on the State Governor to caution the Idimu LCDA on the brazen impunity with which it apportion markets to developers with just seven days notice to rightful occupiers before invasion by thugs.
He added that the right of the traders must not be breached and that it was criminal for the LCDA to have connived with land grabbers to deprive the traders from doing their business. He said that he has notified all the relevant agencies in the State Government to ensure that the market was restored to the traders.
Comrade Omotehinse also blamed the Police for not have intervening as and when due at the instance of the market’s invasion,an act for which he claimed they might have done adequately induced.
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