In its effort to curb the spate of robberies and other criminal
activities in Festac area, the Lagos State Government on Thursday ordered the relocation of markets along the Lagos-Badagry Expressway axis of the state.
It was gathered that the relocation order was informed by the security report that that area and the market is prone to attack insurgents and other criminal activties.
Hence, traders in markets located along 1st, 2nd and 3rd gates in Festac would have to vacate in accordance with the state government’s directive.
The state Commissioner for Local Government and Community Affairs, Hon. Muslim Folami, who gave the directive on behalf of the state government, said the precence of the markets in the area is illegal and dangerous for the state.
Folami, who spoke at a meeting with the stakeholders in the markets held at the Lagos State Sceratriat, Alausa, Ikeja, said he invited them to let know of the intention of the government to eject them from the markets, before the ejection.
The markets, according to Folami, are constituting nuisance, adding that they also cause gridlock on a major road linking the country to other countries.
He confirmed that the security report about the market called for urgent action by the government to avert break down of law and order.
Folami said:”Security report available to the government shows that the markets have become a hideout for hoodlums who store dangerous weapons there with which they operate at night and they also sleep there.
“That place is not the right place for you to have your market. Where you are occupying now is illegal and causing a lot of gridlock, hoodlums use that place to hide their weapons and use these weapons at night to harass people. The traffic is giving government a major concern, government wants to have a free traffic. The task force have been their and they reported their findings to the governor.
“There are a lot of shanties there, it is a trunk road that goes to Seme, it is an eyesore to have things like that on an international road of that nature. It cause gridlock, the hoodlums hide guns there and they sleep there, you don’t know it but intelligence report says they are there. We don’t want to see something that is dangerous to you and overlook it because this is your government and we are concerned about your safety. Boko Haram are moving over to this area from the Noth East and we don’t want what is happening there to happen here”.
The council executive secretary, while acknowledging that the markets are illegal and constitute security threat in the area disclosed that the markets are supposed to be in 6th Avenue. She however joined the traders to appeal to the state government not to drive the traders to the street but to provide them with a modern market in the area.
Meanwhile, the traders and other stakeholders in the markets have appealed to the state Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode to give them an alternative place for their trade so that they can continue their business and also sustain themselves and families.
A spokesman for the traders and Babaloja General of Amuwo-Odofin,
Alhaji Abass Yusuf who thanked the Lagos state government for
dialoguing with them, appealed to the government to make the allocated
land on 6th avenue conducive or anywhere else the govt deemed fit for
The stakeholders who were present at the meeting on the invitation of the commissioner include, the Executive Secretary of Amuwo Odofin Local government, Deaconess Dupe Ajibola Ojodu, HOD Environmental Services of the same local government, Tella Adeyemi. Others were the Iya Oloja General and Babaloja General of Amuwo Odofin, Alhaja Osinatu Adebayo and Alhaji Bolaji Gbolahan Yusuf and other traders from the three markets.
While appealing to the state government to provide them with an alternative place, Yusuf said many people including widows in their thousands rely on the market for their survival; he also said they take very good care of the environment and they don’t allow miscreants into the place.
The Iya Oloja who disclosed that there are about ten markets in the area said they have been trading in the markets since 1977. While begging the governor to reconsider relocating the markets she said they have been taking good care of the market environment.
Other traders who spoke: Kenedy Dafe and Alhaja Fausat Bankole acknowledged the presence of hoodlums in the market but that they have internal security including arrangements with OPC for the security of the markets to take care of the hoodlums.