y Gboyega Akinsanmi
The Association of Nigerian Market Women and Men in Alade Market yesterday said Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, had no hand in the demolition of the second wing of Alade Market.
The association added that all marketers in the second wing agreed to a plan to demolish the market at a stakeholdersâ€™ meeting the Ikeja Local Government convened sometimes in April.
The Iyaloja-General of Alade Market, Mrs. Adia Apena, in a statement, refuted a report that Ambode was behind the demolition of the market, which began yesterday after all the traders agreed to relocate.
In 2016, the traders at the main wing of Alade Market had relocated to the New Alade Market, which the Ikeja Local Government constructed in partnership with the concessionaire of Alade Shopping Mall, Master Reality International Concepts Ltd as an alternative.
The second wing, which specifically housed the operators of Bureau de Change among others, was not demolished to enable the local government construct an alternative market in order to avoid disrupting their commercial activities.
In a statement she signed yesterday however, the Iyaloja faulted reports coming from different quarters that the governor was responsible for the demolition of the second wing of the market.
Apena said the demolition of the second wing started on Sunday in line with a resolution all the traders agreed to a stakeholdersâ€™ meeting the local government convened on the final relocation of the marketers.
She said the traders â€œrequested the Ikeja Local Government and the concessionaire, Master Reality International Concepts Limited that before the demolition of the second wing of Alade Market, they should provide an alternative market for all traders.â€
Consequently, Apena said the local government directed the concessionaire â€œto cater for those whose interests have not been accommodated in the New Alade Market. The concessionaire moved to the site and constructed blocks of shops for them.
â€œAfter the concessioner completed the new blocks of shops, the Sole Administrator of Ikeja Local Government, Mr. Abiodun Taiwo convened a stakeholdersâ€™ meeting on the relocation plan for the marketers that were yet to be provided with alternative shops.
â€œAt the meetings, letters of allocation of shops were issued. And all marketers at the meeting received their letters of allocations. We made resolution that demolition would commence precisely on April 30. By April 28, traders began to move their goods from the market,â€ she said.
Yesterday, Apena said all traders were still moving from the market, noting that she was physically present at the market â€œto witness their relocation. This is evident by the ledger that all shop owners before they could move from their shops.
â€œWe, therefore, do not see any iota of truth in reports being circulated on the social media that Governor Ambode has ordered the demolition and looting of the market. Rather, we thank Governor Ambode, Sole Administrator of Ikeja LG and the developer for successful relocation.â€
She said the market â€œis the first and only market that has been demolished in Lagos, if not in Nigeria with an alternative for relocation. This arrangement has saved us from disruption of commercial activities.â€