· Says rice mill will start running in three months
The Lagos State Government yesterday announced the relocation of West Africa’s biggest food and perishable goods market, Mile 12 Market to Imota, noting that the new market would be ready in six month.
Likewise, the state government said Imota Rice Processing Mill would start running in the next three or six month in order to give force to a memorandum of understanding (MoU) it signed with the Kebbi State Government last month.
The state governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, made the disclosure yesterday while inspecting the site of the new market alongside the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Steve Ayorinde and his Physical Planning counterpart, Mr. Wasiu Anifowoshe, among others.
An ethnic clash had erupted in the present location of Mile 12 market last month, thereby claiming no fewer than five persons and causing wanton destruction of properties last month.
Consequently, both the state government and traders agreed to relocate the market and ban on the use of commercial motorcycles as a means of transportation in the area because of their flagrant disobedience to traffic laws in addition to causing road accidents.
Demonstrating the state government’s commitment to peace agreement with the traders, the state governor inspected the location of the new market yesterday, noting that it would be ready in six months.
Ambode noted that the state government “is committed to developing the new market. We know it is in the interest of all Lagos residents that we relocate Mile 12 Market to Imota.”
He added that the traders themselves “have agreed to the relocation plan. The onus is now on the state government to ensure that we deliver this new market within the next six months.”
He disclosed that he directed the Ministry of Physical Planning “to commence activities here within the next one week. If we start within the next seven days and within the next six months, Mile 12 Market Ketu will be a thing of the past.”
“We had a little crisis at Mile 12 Market in Ketu recently. Right here is the new site that we are relocating Mile 12 Market now. So, our new commodities market will take off from here.”
On the rice mill, the governor was displeased with what he saw as the facility rots without being put to good use, thereby ordering the Ministry of Agriculture to upgrade the rice mill to 10 metric tons per hour to meet up with high volume demand.
Ambode directed that the rice mill be overhauled and upgraded “to the standard to where we can sustain 10 metric tons per hour. In addition, we will also invite private investors that can also complement the state government’s efforts with an additional 10 metric ton per hour.”
If the importation of rice must be stopped, he observed that the state governments should intervene first, and later “allow the private sector to drive the initiative. We are ready to expand this facility immediately and allow the private investors to invest 10 metric ton per hour.
“With this, we will be able to cover the entire rice feeds in the state and adjourning states. We will be able to get the regular supply from Kebbi State. Our intention was not to rely on Kebbi State alone, we are interested in inviting other states that have the paddy rice.
“The consumers are majorly in Lagos and the intention is to expand the Eko rice in order to have a brand in Lagos that will be consumed by all. The Ministry has to do this within the next three to six months to upgrade it. We are expected to regulate while the private sector does their businesses.”