The Ikosi-Isheri Local Council Development Area, Lagos State, has said the Ketu Fruits Market was demolished because hoodlums and robbers used the facility as their hideout.
The Chairman of the council, Mr Fatai Oyesanya, stated that there was no plan to convert the market into an estate as claimed, noting that the the reconstruction of the market became imperative to address the security challenges and key into the megacity vision of the state government.
Oyesanya spoke on Friday while addressing journalists on the protest that trailed the demolition of the market on November 8.
Traders complained that they were not told the market would be demolished that day it was done as their wares were trapped in bulldozers.
But the council chairman insisted that the traders were duly notified of the demolition.
He said relevant stakeholders, including the leadership of the market, the paramount ruler in the area, and relevant government organs were carried along, adding that several meetings were held with the market executives.
He stated, “Modernity cannot allow us to leave that market like that and that is exactly what informs the action of the council to ensure that the place is developed to an international standard where lots of benefits are derivable.
“There have been many reports about the nefarious activities of some hoodlums who have made that place an abode for themselves. They sleep there and when they rob on the expressway, before you know it, they would escape into the market and disappear into thin air. Stocks of ammunition are kept there; Indian hemps and other hard drugs are taken there. Security reports can testify to all these.
“As to the notice, after entering into a contractual agreement with the council, the contractor held several meetings with the leadership of the market. They expressed fears and the contractor assured them like the council did. At the end of the day, the contractor gave a notice on the demolition of part of the market. They know they were duly served notice which was pasted around the market. Several meetings were held starting from 2018.”
Oyesanya said the project would be completed within the next 18 months, assuring legitimate shop owners of being resettled back ‘at a very reasonable rate.’
He added, “No one is moving away from the premises of the market. Nobody is going to be displaced because the demolition and reconstruction are in phases. Those are some of their fears which we have allayed.”