Officials of the Alimosho Local Government Area of Lagos State, early yesterday, demolished no less than 100 shops at the Rauf Aregbesola Modern Market in Iyana-Ipaja, Lagos State.
A correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) who visited the market reports that some of the traders were seen running helter-skelter to remove their goods and valuables.
Some of them said that they got to the market in the early hours of the day only to see that some of its shops were being demolished without any prior notice from the local government.
Others claimed that they got wind of the development through telephone calls from fellow traders that were at the market at dawn.
The Secretary of the market union, Mr. Adegbite Omoluabi, said he had no prior knowledge of the demolition, adding though that the traders could not fight the government and win, hence had to agree to whatever the government wanted.
Another trader, Mrs. Ajose Laoye, said, “This is the height of impunity, it is madness, there was no notice, we got to the market to see this. If we were given notice, one or two occupants among 100 shop owners would have packed out.”
Similarly, Mrs. Bukola Alao, said that the officials of the council came to the market early in the day to paste notices of demolition and subsequently began to demolish after taking the photographs of the pasted notices, Alao said.
Alhaji Rasheed Ijadunola said that the council had, two years ago, made the move to demolish the market for redevelopment, but was stopped by town planners from the state Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development.
According to him, the town planners, in a letter to the council and the leadership of the market union, stated that the site could not accommodate two storey- buildings as planned by the council.
He, urged the council to consider the occupiers of the shops first after the completion of the redevelopment and appealed to the council to ensure that the cost of leasing the shops to them is affordable.
Mrs. Olaide Okupevi, another occupant of one of the shops said, she was still in bed when some neighbours called to informed her of the demolition.
Mr Udechukwu Onyekachi, a fabric dealer, said he lost about N500, 000 worth of clothes to the demolition.
The shops were sold to the traders at cost ranging from N850, 000 to N1.2m.
The executive secretary of the council, Mr. Jelili Sulaeman, in a reply to an SMS sent to his cell phone declined comment.


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