Saturday, 9 January 2016

Igbo Traders Accuse Lagos State Government Of Bias

Following the demolition of the 40-years old Owonifari market at Oshodi on Wednesday, January 6, some Igbo traders are alleging that they are been victimised by the Lagos state government because of their tribe.

Some of the traders who spoke to Vanguard newspapers, decried the decision of the Akinwunmi Ambode government to destroy their source of livelihood without consulting them adequately.

He said: ”I just stocked my shop with new items I brought in from China a few days before the Christmas holiday. When I heard that they have sealed up the market, I rushed down to see if I can evacuate all my goods from the shop.

”They denied us access into the market and chose to demolish the market with all our goods. I had more than N20million goods in my own shop. Others had more.

”All attempt to remove our goods failed. I even offered to give the police N200,000 just to allow me remove my goods, they refused. I have been brutalised and traumatised. This is murder, they have killed us. This government is wicked and inhuman.”

Speaking on the alleged 21-days notice given to them by the government,  Madu said: ”They only came to serve a 21-day quit notice that Isopakodowo in Bolade has been provided. But the 21-day quit notice has not expired. Even where they said we should go at Bolade is uncompleted, small and cannot contain all the traders in this market let alone attract the patronage we receive here.”

Another trader in the market, Sunday Obi stated his own side of the story, he said: ”I heard the government had sealed up the market while I was at home for Christmas, I quickly rushed down, but I got here on Wednesday.

”They have demolished and destroyed everything I had in the market. I had over N10million worth of goods. I sell wires and electronics in my shops. This morning I came to see if I could pick up a few things from the rubble, but I saw fire everywhere again. Who set fire on what was left?

”We don’t know. But, it means, there was a deliberate attempt for us not to pick up anything from here. If they (government) don’t want the Igbos in Lagos, they should come out to tell us. How can they demolished the market without allowing us to remove our goods? It is inhuman.

”About 2000 traders had different goods in the market. I really can’t estimate what we have lost but a modest estimate will be over a billion naira. At a time when people have spent all what they had to re-stock preparation for business in a new year, it is wicked.”

Naij.com spoke to some of the traders on the day the demolition  took place. Watch the video below:

The demolishing of Igbo-dominated markets in Lagos state is not a new phenomenon in the mega-city, the immediate past administration of Babatunde Fashola was notorious for carrying out such act.

But it seems the Ambode government is towing this line. Last year, traders at the popular Ladipo auto spare parts market in Mushin, Lagos were surprised when bulldozers and a team of security personnel arrived the market on Thursday, October 1, to demolish the market for reconstruction.

Meanwhile, the demolition of the Owonifari market has been generating reactions from Nigerians and Naij.com has been monitoring them.