Traders protest in Festac as government aims to demolish Agboju market

Traders in one of the main Festac markets, Agboju market, Monday, protested what they called an “illegal demolition order” of the market.

A few of the traders, who spoke to The Guardian, accused the local government of being behind the order, which came without any prior notice.

The Guardian learnt that the order to pull down the market was connected to the disputed ownership of the land on which the market was built.

“The dispute has been on for many years,” a trader said.

The ownership tussle is between one Alhaji Taiwo Abatan and Mrs Osenat Adebayo, the iyaloja (market leader) of the market, who sources said enjoys the support of the Local government.

Abatan claimed to be the rightful owner of the land and that he had papers of allocation from the Federal Ministry of Works, Power and Housing.

A Federal Ministry of Works and Housing official told The Guardian that he came into Lagos from Abuja this morning because of the land and also backed Abatan’s claims.

A market leader, identified as Mama Tolu, who confronted the demolition team, said Adebayo illegally hijacked the market from Abatan.

A few of the traders said they pay N1000 to Adebayo’s foot soldiers every Friday. Others said there were instances of indiscriminate collection extra fees in the market.

“How can the local government that has no authority over the land allow anyone to collect money on the stalls built on it, the ministry official, who preferred anonymity, queried.

Mama Tolu insisted that the Federal Ministry of Works office in Lagos had invited Adebayo to come and explain her ownership of the land. But she, Adebayo, spurned the invitation.

Mama Tolu noted that Adebayo’s grip on the market would not have tasted if she did not have the backing of the Amuwo Odofin local government Chairman, Valentina Buraimoh

‘Valentina knows everything, Mama Tolu said.

Guardian Nigeria

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