Traders at the Shagari Shopping Complex, Shagari Estate, Ipaja, in the Mosan Okunola Local Council Development Area, Lagos State, have asked the council to follow due process and halt the plan to demolish 400 shops in the complex.
The Chairman of the complex, Pastor Emmanuel Oluwaga, during a protest on Thursday, said the traders received notices to quit on August 25, giving them two weeks to leave the premises.
He pleaded with the state government to come to the rescue of the shop owners.
Oluwaga said he developed the market after its establishment in 1992, adding that he was duly issued documents by the Alimosho Local Government Area to manage the market for 99 years.
“Because of the way I and my counterparts handled the project, I was made the chairman of all markets in Alimosho. I was also asked to recommend 29 other new markets in 2002. We have more than 400 shops in the complex.
“I wonder why a council that was formed in 2005 will give an order without appropriate process,” he added.
The leader of the protesters, Mr. Dipeolu Samuel, said the group had already submitted some documents to the state government to back up its claim to the market.
The complex Secretary, Adewunmi Alade, said even if the government would ask them to leave, they ought to be given six months according to the law of the state.
He said, “The local council just gave us the letters and expected everyone to vacate the complex within two weeks without any negotiation or alternative. We plead with the state government and the Alimosho LGA to intervene in this matter.”
The complex Vice Chairman, Mr. Adeniji Olusegun, said the shopping complex remained the largest furniture market in the state.
He said, “Over 80 per cent of items sold in the complex are pieces of furniture. If this place is demolished, it will affect the economy of the state in furniture making. It is not wrong for the council to rehabilitate the market, but let them follow due process. The state government should caution the council.”
A shop owner, who did not want his name in print, said he ran furniture business in the complex for more than six years.
“I have been running my furniture business in this complex for more than six years now; we are begging them to think of our families. Many of us are parents with a lot of responsibilities; this is our means of livelihood. Many will be rendered jobless if this plan is allowed to sail through,” he said.