‘We can’t feed our families anymore’
Some market men and women in Ogba, Lagos (whose shops are yet to be reopened since they were sealed by the Lagos Ministry of the Environment about three weeks ago) have appealed to the state governor, Akinwumi Ambode to look into their case as all the conditions to facilitate the reopening of the place have been met.
Speaking with encomium.ng when we visited the place on Tuesday, November 14, 2017, one of the traders, Mr. Daniel Eze lamented,
“I can’t deceive you, I can’t calculate how much I have lost since this place has been sealed by the government. I deal in electronics. Most of my customers have stopped coming after trying for some days and they discovered we’re yet to resume. Now, most of us can’t feed our families again because we don’t have alternative means of livelihood. We have fulfilled all the instructions handed down by the official of the ministry of the environment, that’s why you met this place beautiful like this. They knew it was impossible to erect any fence here because of lack of space. Then, in the alternative, we were asked to plant flowers in the front, beautify the top of all the shops with colourful plywoods and clear the gutter. All these have been done and yet they’re yet to reopen our shops since we have done all we’re required to do. We’re just appealing to Governor Ambode to pity us and reopen the place for us. We’re also fully interested in a cleaner Lagos.”
Another victim, Uchechukwu Emmanuel also corroborated the earlier speaker, saying, “We’re really going through hell at the moment. I don’t know why we’re being punished like this. After all, we have done all we’re asked to do, and yet we can’t sell anything in the shops unless the place has been inspected and certified by the Ministry of the Environment. No one among us can risk opening any shop since five days we have completed all the necessary things to make the structure look decent. We’re just appealing to Lagos state government to help look into our case, especially now that the yuletide is fast approaching. Our families are suffering a lot now as we can’t fulfil our responsibilities as breadwinners anymore.”
Another shop owner, Bernard Ikechukwu who is also of Igbo extraction commented on the unfortunate situation. He added that those of them in that wing (opposite Area G) are just unfortunate because they have no space for fence erection. And that’s exactly what has caused the delay in reopening the shops.
“I think most of us here are just unfortunate. As you can see, all others around here who have built the fence in front of their shops have had them reopened since, while we’re still waiting hopelessly. Maybe, they’re not interested in reopening this place anymore, only God knows. But I think they should pity our families at home who are mainly at the receiving end. Almost all of us here are easterners, and there’s nowhere to relocate to now. We’re just begging the government to help us so that we can resume work before this week runs out.”
– TADE ASIFAT for encomium.ng