By Adeola Ogunrinde
Community leaders and traders in the popular Mile 12 Market which erupted in an orgy of violence two weeks ago have agreed with the plan of the Lagos State Government to relocate the market to another suitable and more convenient location within the state.
The leaders and traders on Wednesday also consented to the ban on the use of commercial motorcycle, popularly called Okada, as a means of commercial transportation in the area.
The community leaders said the decision became imperative owing to the fact that the Mile 12 Market, which had been in existence for decades, has outgrown its present location and available infrastructure, hence the need to reason with government.
Addressing a press conference at the Bagauda Kaltho Press Centre, Alausa, the traders and community leaders said they were in total support of the ban on Okada because of the flagrant disobedience to traffic laws by the riders and the frequent road accidents, which had resulted in many deaths and left many hospitalized.
The Financial Secretary of Mile 12 Market, Alhaji Shehu Usman, who addressed the briefing alongside other leaders of the market, said contrary to widespread assertion that the recent civil disturbance in the area, which led to the loss of lives and property, was a fight between Yoruba and Hausa Communities, the truth was that both tribes, including Igbos and other ethnic groups, have been living and doing business together in the area in peace before the ugly incident.
Usman said: “This mayhem is highly regrettable and we wish to extend our condolences to those that lost their loved ones and properties in the fracas. We wish to reiterate here that we the joint leaders of the affected communities and our members outrightly condemn this kind of barbaric acts in the strongest possible terms.
“We also wish to express our gratitude to the State Government under the able leadership of His Excellency, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, for his prompt response in dispatching the men of the State Rapid Response Squad and other security agencies to quell the mayhem and bring the situation under control.”
Usman added that the joint leaders of the area specifically agreed with government on four measures to be adopted going forward, which included ban on Okada operations in the area, relocation of Mile 12 Market, peaceful co-existence amongst all ethnic groups and removal of all shanties and blighted areas within the area which may be harbouring miscreants and eliminate their illegal activities.
He said: “These shanties are illegal structures which are unsuitable for human habitation and are prone to landslides and other environmental problems (e.g flooding). The removal of the shanties will greatly enhance the security of lives and properties in the neighbourhood.”
Besides, Usman said the market executives would dialogue with the state government on the relocation programme, which would help increase the economic growth and development, provide better infrastructure and reduce traffic congestion.
The briefing was attended by Baales and community leaders from Agiliti and Maidan, as well as all the Mile 12 Market leaders, and government officials led by the Secretary to the State Government, Tunji Bello.
Also speaking, Bello warned that government would deal decisively with any group or persons bent on disturbing public peace in the area and all parts of the state, just as he urged the leaders to talk to their people to be law abiding and maintain peace.
On relocation of the market, Bello said the State Government will finalise on the new location and time frame when the traders will be relocated, saying that the public will be adequately notified in due course.
When asked on compensation for traders and members of the communities who lost items and properties due to the clash and closure of the market, Bello said government will look into it and compensate those with genuine claim.
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