Remember the demolition of Owonifari market, Oshodi which took place some days ago? Well, The Lagos State Government on Thursday explained the reason behind it emphasizing that it was simply a relocation of traders from the Owonifari market space within the notorious loop of Oshodi to the newly built ultra-modern Isopakodowo Market in Bolade-Oshodi. The action was said to be taken in the overall interest of public good, safety and security.
Speaking during a joint press briefing by the State’s Ministries of Information and Strategy, Environment, Physical Planning and Urban Development, Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, and the Office of Civic Engagement, the Government said it had constructed an alternative market stall for the traders which can conveniently accommodate over 600 shops and hundreds of kee Clamps to be given away at the cheap price of N5,000. Commissioner for Information and Strategy Mr. Steve Ayorinde said that traders were adequately notified before the exercise took place as required by law and that government had been in talks with the leadership of the market for a good number of years before carrying out the demolition exercise on Owonifari Market.
According to him, the leadership of the market in the last three years refused to move despite the fact that the new market has over 600 shops apart from the kee clamps which takes the number of people that the market can conveniently accommodate to over 1,000 all together. Mr Ayorinde said having been satisfied that government had provided a befitting alternative, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode through the Commissioner for Local Government and Community Affairs, invited the leadership of the market to his Executive Chambers on December 16, 2015, where he revealed his plans for Oshodi and the need to move the traders to Isopakodowo which as at that time had been ready for a couple of years. Mr Ayorinde also said that though some of the leaders expressed certain concerns, most of them felt that if their interest would be accommodated within the Isopakodowo Market, they were willing and ready to move while talks continued with regards to the cost of acquiring the shops.
Subsequently, on Monday December 21, 2015 Governor Ambode was said to have gone on a tour of the market area particularly at Isopakodowo, in company with a few executives of the market and it was then that the price of each shop at Isopakodowo was fixed at N5,000; a price which according to them traders can’t get elsewhere in Lagos.
Mr Ayorinde further denied allegations that traders’ goods were destroyed in the demolition exercise, insisting that was far from the truth and that the government would not be blackmailed. The government says it’s set to restore sanity to the place, to beautify the market, to construct a world class bus terminus around that place and to ensure that people who use that place on a daily basis – they want commuters, traders, and everybody to enjoy what it means to go to a market in a mega city. It is also believed that the exercise will largely reduce the gridlock that is associated with that area as well as the criminalities that are rampant there.