According to a report by Daily Sun, many traders at the popular Ile-Epo Foodstuff Market in Agbado Oke-Odo Local Council Development Area (LCDA) of Lagos State are counting their losses after the market was demolished for reconstruction by the state government.
Though the traders were reportedly served an 18-month notice before the demolition, the April 25 exercise still remains a day of torment for many of the traders.
Even now, some are yet to come to terms with the early-morning exercise. They described it as insensitivity on the part of government and other partners behind the project.
Daily Sun reports that, as early as 6am, bulldozers were already at work, pulling down structures. There was commotion across the market. The traders ran as fast as they could to save their goods from being destroyed by the bulldozers that spared no shop.
Some owners of the shops who lived far from the market dashed down to the scene to secure their goods, not only from the mercy of the bulldozers but also from hooligans and miscreants who were loitering within the market to feast on the situation. Unfortunately, some traders were unlucky, as they could not evacuate all their goods quickly enough.
When the reporter visited the scene on the Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway by 11am on the said day, hundreds of shops had been completely brought down. Goods, especially foodstuff, littered the area. Thousands of traders, retailers and wholesalers were displaced.
On hand to supervise the demolition of the market were policemen attached to the environmental task force team. They were there to ensure that there was no resistance from the traders. Some miscreants who attempted stealing goods and some others spoiling for war were apprehended and detained in the Black Maria meant for that purpose.
The new structure on the site is being built through public-private partnership. According to the promoters, the construction is expected to last 12 months. On completion, the market would have a banking hall, police post, car park, a garage, where trailers from the North would offload their wares, and a fire station, among others.
Some of the traders tried to evacuate their wares. Some piled their goods on the median and road, causing a gridlock. Days after the demolition, the traders have continued to ply their trade on the median and other unauthorised places around the market.
It was gathered that the Agbado Oke-Odo LCDA was in support of the developer, Total Value Integrated Limited. Reports say the council wants the demolition done to pave way for a more organised and secure market.
To the promoters and authorities behind the reconstruction it might be a welcome idea to beautify the “mega city,” but the traders are revolting. They see the development as a means to pauperise them.
Some acknowledged the eviction notice served by government, while others denied it. Many of the traders claimed that it was a forceful eviction carried out by the administration of the Agbado/Oke Odo council. The aggrieved occupants of the market also accused the LCDA of conniving with the National Union of Road Transport Workers to rebuild the market and reserve a large space for the union.
Others who expressed shock over the demolition said the market was rebuilt not too long ago. They, therefore, queried the rationale for another reconstruction.
“The market is not collapsing, neither is any danger foreseen. There were so many lock-up shops. Some were storey-buildings, but they were all pulled down for selfish reasons. It is an act of wickedness for you to cause other people pains because of what you intend to benefit,” a trader said.
There were other traders who complained that the demolition notice issued was too short. They said they did not have enough time to look for another location to continue their businesses.
A trader who deals in body creams and soaps, Ada Uloma, accused those behind the demolition of denying her of her only means of livelihood.
She said it was difficult for her to believe the government’s promise that the erstwhile traders would be given a discount when the new shops are completed.
“At the moment, there is no space for me to continue my trade. The shopping complex opposite the market is very expensive. It is less than five per cent of the traders at Ile-Epo that can afford the shops.
“I want government to help us get another place to carry out their trading activities, pending when they complete the proposed reconstruction. Government will only create hunger for us in a bid to create a conducive environment for trading,” she said.
A trader, Ugochukwu Ebere, who deals in provision, said he had been in the market for 12 years and he invested over N10 million in his wholesale business. He lamented that everything went down the drain in a few minutes.
“I was not around when they started the demolition. When I later ran to my shop, the crowd in the market prevented my boys and I from quickly saving all my goods. In the process of moving the goods, some got destroyed. Apart from goods, there were other things that l couldn’t rescue,” he said.
But the managing director, Total Value Integrated Limited, Chris Onyekachi, said the market was an eyesore and was not fit for a mega city like Lagos. He told the reporter that the traders were given 18 months to vacate the site, adding that some obeyed but others refused to leave.
He faulted claims that his company connived with NURTW and the council to drive the traders out of the market, saying it was a rumour.
He added that, once the redevelopment of the market was complete, the traders would be given preference at discounted rates to own the new shops in the market before others.
“The contract was awarded to my company in 2016 and since then we have been doing the necessary things like getting approval from the state and local government.
“We have had several meetings with the traders in the market, with all the people concerned. If you see the state of the market, you will agree with me that people should not even remain in that market.
“I am surprised that some groups would say that I want to take over the market. We have the approval of the Iyaloja General of Lagos markets, and Babaloja of the Lagos markets. We will not allow these people to scuttle the rehabilitation of the market.
“We gave them an 18-month notice to leave the market. Many of them have packed out while some remained. We came here around 7:30am for the demolition. We have given them alternative places in the market. We are not demolishing the whole market now. We are doing it in three phases,” he said.
Some of the occupants expressed the fear that once the market is rebuilt, the former occupants would not be able to benefit from the exercise due to the high price that the developer would demand. They reminded government that the market was mainly occupied by foodstuff sellers.
Mr. Amaechi Emeka said he had three shops in the market before the demolition. He said it would take him a very long time to come out of the trauma the demolition has caused him.
“I heard of the notice but I didn’t know they were serious about it. I acquired my third shop a few months ago. I do not have other means of survival, and with the sales in this market, I feed my children and send them to school. So, how do I start all over again? Or I should return to my village empty-handed?” he said.
The reporter gathered that the decision to rebuild the market was concluded by the state government last July even before the present LCDA chairman assumed office.
It was also gathered that most of the market leaders signed the agreement to rebuild the market.
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Welcome the next set of MTN Scholars!
360 young Nigerians receive scholarships from MTN Foundation
MTN Foundation has awarded scholarships to 360 university students at a virtual ceremony on November 12, 2020. The scholarships were awarded under the MTNF scholarship schemes made up of the MTNF Science & Technology Scholarship (STSS) and Scholarship for the Blind Students (SBSS). In attendance were the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, represented by the Technical Assistant, Dr. Olufemi Adeluyi; Honourable Minister of Science & Technology represented by the Acting Director-General of the National Space Research and
Development Agency, Dr. Francis Chizea; former Minister of Communication Technology, Dr. Omobola Johnson amongst other notable dignitaries.
Speaking at the ceremony, the representative of the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Olufemi Adeluyi said: “We are here with the MTN Foundation to celebrate scholars that have excelled in school. MTN is also supporting people with disabilities by funding their education and this is very commendable. The Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy is constantly working towards elevating skills over degrees. We are also committed to ensuring that individuals are empowered with the right tools and skills.”
Also speaking, Honourable Minister of Science & Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu represented by Dr. Francis Chizea said: “I am glad that MTN, in giving back to the society through its foundation, set up a scholarship scheme to empower the youths and as well, drive science and technology. This is a welcome development and a commendable effort that other organizations need to emulate.”
A major highlight of the ceremony was a fireside chat themed “Insight. Influence. Impact” with thought leaders sharing inspiring insights with the scholars. Nigeria’s former Minister for Communication Technology, Dr. Omobola Johnson reiterated the role MTN continues to play in the ICT space and its impact on the country. “We need to get a workforce that is very comfortable with technology. We are in a state where we need world-class educational institutions and interventions such as this that will enable students to be very vast in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics,” Johnson said.
Leading to the ceremony, this year’s graduating students from the scholarship programme were hosted to a career incubation boot camp facilitated by experts from Google, Oracle, Cisco and Jobberman. Facilitators shared insights on various opportunities amongst other vital employability tips.
Speaking on the scholarship award ceremony and workshop for graduands, Executive Secretary, MTN Foundation, Nonny Ugboma said, “Providing access to quality education is the first step to a world of opportunity for the youth of our nation. We know it does not stop there. We need to also ensure that they are adequately prepared for the
workplace. We hope that the fireside chat at the award ceremony will inspire the students to reach for greatness and innovation. Furthermore, it is our belief that the employability workshop held earlier will enrich the career path of the graduating students. The MTNF scholarship scheme is more than just funds; it is a commitment to
build the capacity of our youth. We wish all our graduating scholars success as they set out to take on the world and congratulate all awardees as the next set of young nation builders in the making.”
The newly awarded scholars will each enjoy a scholarship grant worth N200,000 annually till graduation as long as they maintain a CGPA of 3.5 or its equivalent. The scholarship covers tuition, book allowance and stipend. Till date, MTN Foundation has awarded scholarships to 3,829 students valued at over NGN 2.1Billion.
The MTNF annual scholarships are awarded to high performing students in Nigerian public tertiary institutions.
Illegal Abortions Responsible For Mysterious Deaths In Bauchi: State Govt
Bauchi State Government has revealed that the mysterious deaths recorded in the State has been as a result of illegal abortions.
An investigation carried out by the Bauchi State Primary Healthcare Development Agency has revealed that illegal abortion by unqualified medical practitioners is the cause of mysterious deaths in Azare and other local government areas in the northern part of the state.
According to reports, no fewer than 200 women have died in Bauchi as a result of this and there are projections that the number could be more at the end of the investigation.
The Executive Chairman of the agency, Dr Rilwanu Mohammed, disclosed this Friday, May 29, at an interactive session organized by the Bauchi State Public Health Media Network.
Mohammed said the deaths resulted from unwanted and unplanned pregnancies by both married and unmarried women of childbearing ages who, after becoming pregnant, visited quack health workers to terminate the pregnancies.
He said the lack of understanding of the importance of child spacing as well as ignorance of what to do with such pregnancies had become a major problem to family health in the state.
He emphasized the need for adequate sex education for the girl-child by parents, particularly mothers, to reduce unwanted pregnancies, thereby reducing deaths from complications.
Ondo Govt Arraigns Suspected Killers Of Funke Olakunrin
The Ondo State Government has arraigned four men suspected to have killed Mrs Funke Olakunrin, the daughter of the National Leader of Afenifere, Pa Reuben Fasoranti.
Recall that it was earlier reported that the Nigeria Police Force handed over the suspects to the State Government.
They are Lawal Mazaje from the Felele area of Kogi State, Adamu Adamu from Jada area of Adamawa State, Mohammed Usman from Illela area of Sokoto State, and Auwal Abubakar from Shinkafi area of Zamfara State.
The suspects were arraigned on Friday by the government at a Chief Magistrate Court sitting in Akure.
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