The Traders of Amuwo Odofin Local Government Area, Lagos State had on Saturday 12th December 2020 tackled the Council Chairman, Dr. Valentine Buraimoh over market demolition.
Reports revealed that officials of the LGA reportedly said to have acted on the order of the Council Chairman, stormed the Oyinlola Olorunda Market with armed policemen and used a caterpillar to demolish buildings, including shops, belonging to traders in the market.
According to reports by Punch, the market leader, Stella Cookey, while blaming Buraimoh for the incident stated that Governor Babajide Sanwoolu had been notified to intervene in the matter adding that fewer than 5,000 traders were affected by the demolition.
“Three months ago, the council summoned all market leaders for a meeting and during the meeting, the officials demanded to see representatives of Oyinlola Olorunda Market separately. We proceeded to the office of the secretary of the LG and met four other officials there.
“It was at that point that we were told that the council wanted to rebuild the market. We told them that the timing was wrong. We said Covid-19 affected our businesses and there was nothing wrong with the market; the place was allocated to us for 90 years and we had not even spend up to 30 years, so, we told them to officially write us and we left.
“After a month, they officially wrote us and we went for a meeting, involving the chairman and his committee, but we had no agreement and since then, they never had any meeting with us. We were surprised that they came on Saturday with a bulldozer and started demolishing the market with traders’ property still in the shops,” she reportedly said
The market leader also noted that there was no notice pasted ahead of the demolition and the hoodlums took advantage of the demolition and looted property belonging to traders, stressing that goods worth millions of naira were stolen.
The Counsel to the market, Ike Onyefulu while stating that the matter would be taken to court said “About five plazas were levelled down and it is an act of wickedness. It is very unfortunate that this kind of thing is happening in a government that says it has the interest of the people at heart.
“If for any reason a market or building is to be demolished, it is mandatory that you give the occupants some days or weeks of notice, but nothing of such was done. The market was not built by the government, it was built by the people who got allocation after paying and the structures were built in line with the architectural drawing they gave us. Whether what they did is bad or not, we are not going to take the law into our hands; we are going to court.” he added.
However, the council chairman, Dr. Valentine Buraimoh stated that due process was followed.
“A committee was set up five months ago and members of the committee had been meeting with them to allay their fears. So, we followed due process by calling them for a meeting and also wrote to the state government through the ministry of local government for approval.
“The commissioner, ministry of local government and community affairs, was there to inspect the situation of things in the market before giving approval for the demolition. The place is called a market and all manner of people are living there and selling all manner of illicit drugs.
“People are not safe doing business there. Once they hear that there will be development at a place, they won’t yield on time, but within three to four months, another structure will be there and the original allottees will be considered before the new ones.” He reportedly said.