Traders at Erekesan Market in Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State capital, have protested an alleged extortion on land allocation at the new Awedele market by the Iyaloja of Ado-Ekiti, Mrs. Waye Osho.
Osho was arrested on Monday by operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS, and detained at the police headquarters in Ado Ekiti, over allegation that she illegally collected the sum of N93 million from some traders and refused to allocate spaces to them at the new market.
The protesters, who stormed the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development yesterday at noon, told the governor that members paid sum of N19,000 to Osho without being allocated spaces.
Due to the burning of the Erekesan market during the crisis that engulfed the market between drivers union and Hausa/Fulani traders, Governor Ayo Fayose had given up to September 8, 2015, for the traders to relocate to either Awedele or Agric Olope market built by former Governor Kayode Fayemi’s government for proper reparation to be conducted on the market.
However Mrs. Osho described the allegation as untrue, and that her arrest was politically-motivated and a desperate attempt to rope her into a phantom fraud allegation.
Speaking on behalf of the protesters, Mrs Joke Aduloju, a cloth seller at the market, said her group paid a sum of N19,000 to Iyaloja and lamented that many were yet to be allocated spaces, calling on the government to seriously address the issue for them to be able to meet
the September 8 deadline.
“All the units in the market, including pepper sellers, sellers of ready-made dresses, shoe sellers and many others paid the money. But it was regrettable that some are yet to be allocated spaces.”
Also speaking, the representative of the Igbo traders, Mr Richard Uzokwe and the youth leader, Mr Richard Folamade, urged the government to take over land allocation at Awedele to restore normalcy and douse the raging tension.
They appealed to the government to include some of the traders in the committee on land allocation constituted by the government to be able to identify authentic members from those who had gate-crashed and messed up the whole process.
“Even those that had been allocated spaces were either non-members or civil servants. The government must look into all these to be able to know those who are using the land allocation for personal aggrandisement,” they said.
The Commissioner for Lands, Mr Tayelolu Otitoju who appealed for caution, said the payment to Iyaloja on land allocation in the new market was illegal, saying forms would be issued out soon for proper exercise that would benefit all traders operating in Erekesan market.
“We don’t want crisis or chaos in Ekiti. But I want to say that you have to go by the law in land allocation in this state. Going by the country’s land law of 1978, the State is empowered to allocate lands and not individuals. So, you should be ready to pay for you to get spaces the normal way.”
The governor, speaking through the special adviser on Political Matters, Demola Bello, assured that necessary designs had been mapped out for the construction of the new market.
Suing for peace, the governor said the design in the new market included fire services and police posts, toilet facilities, good road network and many others, contrary to indiscriminate construction being done by some traders.
Osho further narrated that she entered into a lease holding agreement with O’odua Group during Fayemi’s administration for land allocation at Awedele with the promise that a sum of N3,000 would be paid yearly by each trader into the company’s purse.


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