How long have you been in this market as a spare parts seller?
I started in this Ladipo Market in 1994 but I have been in the business for quite long before moving to this place.
How would you describe the business so far?
It has been good. It’s very lucrative.
What’s your reaction to what happened here on Tuesday, June 30, 2015?
It’s very embarrassing. We never expected it. But then, when you’re in a strange land doing business, anything can happen, especially when your leaders are not truthful and open to you. They can hide very important information from you which can blow off the roof of where you’re staying. That’s just it but I see it as an embarrassment.
We were told it’s Mushin Local Government that’s responsible for the demolition. Did the local government forward any letter to you the occupants of the place to that effect?
That’s the main problem because if they have forwarded the letter, we’re supposed to know from our leaders.
But your leaders have also said nothing of such happened between them and the local government?
The issue is that some of them take things for granted because of the money they’re making from the leadership positions they’re holding. I was the electoral committee chairman of this market in 2008. I am an elder, I am far above 50. In an issue like this, you as a leader, you need to call on the elders who know how to handle a matter like this and go for a roundtable talk with the other party involved. They should be your advisers, and in that case, you need to be close to them. But because of the money they’re making, they take things for granted. However, if no prior information was given to our leaders before the local government came to vandalise our property, that means the state government must hear this matter. We must even involve human right lawyers to help us out.
How much did you lose to this undue demolition?
Sincerely speaking, we lost a lot of money, especially those that sold their goods late in the evening and couldn’t take their money to the bank. So, some kept the money in their drawers. In our line here, people lost about N7m worth of goods to the heavy downpour that occurred here because all these Tokunbo spare parts if the rain enters them, you will have to rewash them, rub grease before they can be effective again and even at that you can’t sell them at the original price again.
What do you want the state government to do on this matter?
I want the state government to look into the matter because we can’t lock horns with the local government. Anytime a local government has an issue, the local government will come with the Army, mobile police and others. I am surprised. It’s illegal. How can a local government come to the market with army, police and unknown soldiers, fully armed, all in the name of so called demolition? It’s not done. They came with a combined team of soldiers and the policemen, even Airforce men were among them. They were all here on Tuesday destroying our property. It’s unfair. We’re in a democratic and not military era. That’s why I am appealing to the state government, human right lawyers and activists to come to our rescue. We need their services now for us to get out of this trouble.
But you have been given a month notice to vacate the market, is that not enough?
One month notice? How possible will that be for the local government to eject us out of this market? A place I have been since 1994 and I have been paying my dues without failing. It’s not done. Where are they moving us to? Or they’re expecting us to carry our goods to our various houses. That’s not possible.
– TADE ASIFAT