By Okunade Adekunle, Lagos
Some members of the Professional Carpenter and Furniture Association (PCFA) Lagos State, have called on government to intervene in the crisis between them and block moulders at the Enilolobo Abdullahi Modern Market, Alimosho, Lagos State.
The aggrieved artisans also urged the Mosan Okunola Local Council Development Area (LCDA) authorities to investigate the development that led to the demolition of their workshops before the situation escalated into crisis.
The group made the calls during a protest at the market following an alleged selective demolition carried out by agents of the LCDA on Thursday.
The protesters argued that the hostility of the block moulders in the market against them led to the demolition of their workshops because the block moulders allegedly had support of some powers in the council.
The spokesman of the group, Mr Olatunde Owoeye-Wise said that justice demanded that all citizens be given equal treatment, saying that a situation where their workshops were destroy while others were left called for concern.
Owoeye-Wise said that the furniture makers came to occupy the complex for show rooms when the shops almost became desolated because of high rent.
“This morning I was called that the shield we erected at the back of the showrooms had been demolished by the agents of the local government.
“Meanwhile, before now, we have had series of meetings with the Super (Supervisory Councilor for the area) who told us that block moulders reported us that we wanted to dislodge them.
“And since these people have connection with a political leader in the council, agents were sent today to demolish our shield from where we get money to pay various levies and dues to the government.
“We need a small shield at the back to be making our furniture. It is unfortunate that because these people believed they know Mr YY, they are intimidating us.
“We want the higher authorities to wade in because the garrison commander, Mr YY is terrorising us in Alimosho. Government should wade in before this escalated and turned into another thing.
“If we start to face each other, it may turn into fracas. Higher authorities should intervene before it gets out of hands.
“What we see in this demolition is favourism of is tribesmen. Our own shield was pull down while the block moulders are still there,’’ the spokesman said.
He said that the two groups of artisans had been advised to have meetings and settle the issue amicably but the other group failed to show up.
Owoeye-Wise added: “Why should the agents of the council demolish our own and leave others? This is injustice, it does not show equality.
“We rent the shop at N350, 000 each and we are the largest occupier. We pay income tax clearance of N5, 500, we pay trade permit of N7,200 and we also pay N6,000 to the Lagos State Signage and Advertising Agency.’’
He said that the group had been contributing to the economic growth of the council by paying all rates and levies to boost the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of the area.
Speaking, Alhaji Yisa Yusuf, a political leader in the council, alleged to have orchestrated the demolition told journalists that the place where the protesters erected shield was never part of where they paid rent on.
Yusuf, who is popularly referred to as YY, said that if the furniture makers wanted to be using the space, there must permission from the council and negotiation.