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Alade Market women protest relocation to canal area -’We don’t want to go to the canal; it’s not environmentally friendly and too hazardous’-President of the traders, Mrs. Odunsi-Dania

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 ‘We have no business with the protest’- market executives

Women of the popular Alade Market, Allen Avenue, Ikeja, Lagos on Thursday, May 21, 2015, staged a peaceful protest to both the Governor’s Office and residence of the Iyaloja General, Chief (Mrs.) Folashade Tinubu-Ojo against the proposed relocation by the Ikeja local government to a canal area, also in Ikeja.

The disgruntled, joined by a handful of men, came out in their numbers as they trekked from the market to the Alausa, Lagos office of the governor to make known their displeasure.

They chanted solidarity songs as they caused a stir along the busy Obafemi Awolowo Way on their way to the Lagos House, with several placards detailing their reasons for the demonstration.

Some read, Save Our Soul; yet another read Alade market will not go to canal, no to relocation. Calling on the newly-instituted government to their plight one placard read, Ambode/Buhari help us.

One placard interestingly read, This is not what you promised us during your campaign.

ENCOMIUM Weekly witnessed the protest which proceeded to the Ikeja residence of the Iyaloja General of Nigeria, Chief (Mrs.) Tinubu-Ojo.

4Addressing the women who had waited considerably, Tinubu-Ojo said, “I will order further action on the relocation to stop for now. There is communication breakdown between the traders and the local government. So where I stand now is that the Alade Market will not move from present location if where they are relocating them is not conducive. That is, where I stand.”

She concluded, saying: “I am in the know of the planned relocation but I have seen it up to this level so I will like all the interested parties to maintain the status quo.”

Our correspondent spoke with the President of the Concerned Traders of Alade Market, Mrs. Lola Odunsi-Dania on why they are protesting the relocation. According to her, their protest is against the proposed new location which she said is not environmentally friendly. In her words, “We really don’t have any grievance with the Lagos State government because we are all supporters of APC, and we know it’s a people’s party.

“We’re just here to tell the Lagos State government what the Ikeja council is doing to us. We don’t want to go to the canal because it’s not environmentally friendly; it is too hazardous to health, and that’s why we don’t want to go there.”

On what they want the state government to do for them, she said: “We want Lagos State to call the Ikeja Local Government Council, and we should all have a round-table discussion to chart a way forward; that’s all we want for now. We have been told to start payment of N150,000 and move to the new place by June 1, 2015.”

5On whether the local government had met any of their conditions, she said: “We don’t know about any condition, what we were told was that our Iyaloja, Chief (Mrs.) Elizabeth Adenuga said she had meetings with them, which the people in the market didn’t know about. So she was only acting on behalf of herself and her committee.”

We also spoke with the chairperson of the protest organizing committee, Alhaja Folashade Shote: “The Ikeja Local Government is asking us to move to the canal where some people still found snakes and crocodiles there recently. The location of the market is not even visible to motorists or passers-by from outside, so how will they patronise us?

“It will kill our business. This is the only decent market we have left. It is not dirty, it is not rowdy. Also, when it rains, the water gets to our hip level, and that means if our goods are there, everything would be destroyed. We want the governor to save us: we don’t want to go into the canal. Most of us traders carry the responsibilities of our homes”.

Meanwhile, a letter with the heading, Final Notice of Relocation written by Ikeja Local Government to the traders and signed by one Mr. Wole Ogunlolu on behalf of the Executive Secretary of the local government council notifying them of the planned relocation reads: “I have been directed to inform you that the local government has approved the sum of N150,000, payable to Ikeja Local Government, Access Bank Account no:0016300967 with effect from Tuesday, May 25 to Monday, June 1, 2015. I have been further directed to inform you that relocation of allottees to the new shops shall be based strictly on first come bases. You are therefore advised to take advantage of this opportunity to secure yourself a vantage position at the new market.

“Surprisingly, the executives of the market who did not give their names washed their hands off the protest. When our correspondent approached them for comment on the reason for the protest, they responded, saying: We are not part of their protest. Are they not the ones that called you (referring to our correspondent and other press men)? Before adding, Go and ask them why they are protesting. We have no business with it.

We asked some of the protesting market women why their executives are not part of them. “We don’t know” was the response 7of one. Another, however, said: “Some of them are retired and have sold or rented out their shops. They don’t have shops here.”

have been further directed to inform you that relocation of allottees to the new shops shall be based strictly on first come bases. You are therefore advised to take advantage of this opportunity to secure yourself a vantage position at the new market.

“Surprisingly, the executives of the market who did not give their names washed their hands off the protest. When our correspondent approached them for comment on the reason for the protest, they responded, saying: We are not part of their protest. Are they not the ones that called you (referring to our correspondent and other press men)? Before adding, Go and ask them why they are protesting. We have no business with it.

We asked some of the protesting market women why their executives are not part of them. “We don’t know” was the response of one. Another, however, said: “Some of them are retired and have sold or rented out their shops. They don’t have shops here.”

-MICHAEL NWOKIKE

 

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