- Traders in Ikota market in Lagos have narrated how Lagos State government officials in cahoots with notorious landgrabbers destroyed their shops
- The traders lamented that the landgrabbers invaded the market without prior notice and began to take down structures and destroy goods worth millions
- According to them, on the day of the demolition, some of the officials of the Lagos State government demanded cash to avoid the demolition but went ahead despite paying them
Members of the Ikota Traders Association are protesting what they described as the ‘unlawful’ demolition of their business premises by the Lagos State Ministry of the Environment officials.
On September 15, 2022, the officials of the Environment Ministry led by Architect Gbolahan Oki and Engineer Omotosho, accompanied by police officers and thugs, stormed the Ikota market and crushed and demolished to the ground property worth millions of naira. The Traders say there was no prior notice before the demolition.
Suspected landgrabbers on the prowl
In what appears to be a land-grabbing scheme, the property is situated along the Eti-Osa/ Lekki Epe Expressway around Ikota First Gate near Mega Chicken bus stop in Lagos State, was later reassigned to another business owner around the premises.
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The Traders have demanded that they should be restored to the property and duly compensated for their loss. They made the demand in a protest letter titled: “Unlawful and premeditated demolition of the properties belonging to the Ikota Traders Association, and the planned reallocation of the said; Land to a nearby business interest by name; Black Bell Restaurant and Time Square Mall.”
Narrating their ordeal to Legit.ng, the president of the Ikota Traders Association, Dipo Adebayo and the secretary, Hunter Gbasai, partly said that on Thursday, September 15, 2022, men of the Lagos State Planning and Environmental Monitoring Agency, the Lagos State Building Control Agency in Company of men of the Special Operations Task Force, and a Colony of thugs, miscreants and hooligans led by Architect Gholahan Oki and Engineer Omotosho invaded “our business premises lying along the stretch of Km 14, at the Lekki/Epe Expressway in a commando – style destroying and demolishing all of our assets, properties and business premises.
Traders allege extortion by officials of Lagos State
The traders, who said they have been operating legitimately at the business premises for 15 years without any disturbances or disruptions from any governmental agency, added that they always paid all their respective components of statutory charges, levies, taxes and rates.
The traders alleged that despite being extorted by the Lagos State government officials who demanded N2.5 million, the same people mobilized thugs and police officers to demolish their business premises.
The traders said:
“Lagos State officials demanded money from us, and we gave them N2 million in cash. On the same payment day, one architect told us that Black Bell Restaurant and Time Square Mall buildings are illegal because the Land was supposed to face the Estate, not set at the back.
“In one fell swoop, businesses running into several millions of naira were demolished and Lagosians in their hundreds who were otherwise gainfully employed at our businesses were thrown into the unemployment market. This is but a sad commentary in this suffocating economic time in our country. It is a testament to the desire to acquire ill-gotten wealth and a great disservice to mankind for our businesses to be singled out for demolition without any official notice whatsoever only for the same Land to be allotted to a nearby business interest.”
“The traders, therefore, demand the unconditional restoration of their properties, payment of compensation for damages suffered, the immediate stoppage of reallocation and reassignment of the piece and parcel of land, and a letter of apology from the Lagos State government, and prosecution of those involved in the illegal demolition.”
Lagos State to shut Ladipo, Oyingbo markets indefinitely, announces date of action
Recall that Legit.ng reported that in a move that will cause massive disruption to many peoples lives, the Lagos Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) is set to embark on sanitation actions in some markets in the state.
Specifically, LAWMA says both Ladipo and Oyingbo markets would be shut down till further notice from Thursday, September 22, PM News reports.
The Lagos state agency says this is as a result of reckless waste dumping, refusal to pay for waste services, and general poor waste management situation at the markets.