The Lagos State government has in the wee hours of Wednesday, embarked on a total demolition of the popular Ojodu market in the Berger area of the state. The exercise, which was said to have commenced since yesterday with policemen on standby to avert any breakdown of law and order, saw many of the affected traders trying to salvage their goods to safety.
The affected traders lamented against the exercise, and complained that they were caught unawares as the government failed to notify them. The demolition, according to findings, also came less than 24 hours after the officials of the Lagos State Task Force on Environmental Sanitation (Task Force) stormed the Berger area to impound between 60 and 70 motorcycles, popularly known as okada.
When a correspondent visited the market, the demolition team was seen carrying on with their duties, while the affected market men and women found various means to salvage their goods through the employment of truck pushers, among others. Some others also brought in private and commercial vehicles to remove their goods.
When approached for comment, the Iyaloja of Ojodu- Berger, Mrs Abibat Adelayo Adegbola, expressed disappointment at the development, saying she never had an inkling that the government would demolish the market.
The market leader, who admitted that there was an issue on the market, but refused to disclose the nature, said all the efforts she made to speak with the government officials were rebuffed. “We were not aware that they were going to demolish the market; nobody told us anything. There is an issue, but all attempts to speak with the governor and the government officials were unsuccessful,” she said.
A market woman, who also did not want her name in print, said she had to race to the market from Ojo following a phone call from a fellow trader.
Responding, the Task Force said it embarked on the raid following a petition it received from members of the public that the okada riders were constituting nuisance to the right of way at the newly constructed slip road and the layback at the Berger Bus Stop area of the state.
Speaking with a reporter, the spokesperson of the agency, Taofiq Adebayo, said a total of 34 Bajaj brand of motorcycles were impounded, while four riders were arrested.
According to him, the four riders were arraigned before a mobile court, which convicted them, while the 34 motorcycles were forfeited to the state government.