These are not the best of times for traders at the Ladipo Auto Spare Parts Market in Mushin Local Government Area of Lagos State. The traders are counting their losses as some armed men and officials suspected to be working for Mushin Local Government and supported by a team of policemen had on Tuesday invaded the Auto Spare Parts Market and demolished shops in the market.
During the demolition exercise, the traders were barred from entering the market to remove their goods from the shops. The armed men were battle-ready to forestall any resistance from the traders as the demolition was going on.
Traders were also not allowed to get near the entrance into the market as tipper lorries were seen taking sand and gravel into the market to commence work after the demolition.
The chairman of the market and president of the central market union, Comrade Kingsley Ogunor said he was not informed before they came for the demolition which threw the entire market into confusion.
While the demolition was ongoing, the local government appears set for the reconstruction of the market to what it claimed to be a befitting commercial development for the area. In front of the market gate was a banner placed by those suspected to be behind the demolition with the inscription: Proposed Commercial Development of Mushin, Lagos.
It was also written on the banner that Mushin Local Government in conjunction with a developer known as Total Value Integrated Services Limited is to commence building a modern plaza market in place of the present stalls being demolished. The duration for the completion of the project is 18 months.
When our reporter visited the market, some of the traders expressed surprise over the development and said they were not given any notice, neither was there any court judgment asking them to vacate the stalls.
At the time of this report, the traders had started protesting over the demolition and had moved to the Mushin Council secretariat to complain about what they alleged as illegal demolition.
When our reporter visited the council, the council secretary, Mr Babajide Bello was not around to comment on the matter.
A developer carried out a similar action some time last year and it did not amount to anything as the traders held on to their stalls. It was not yet clear if it is the same developer that is behind the latest demolition.
By Pita Ochai