Alleged touts, security operatives clash in Lagos as popular fruit market is demolished

Alleged touts, security operatives clash in Lagos as popular fruit market is demolished

– A popular fruit market in Lagos has been demolished with plans for an utra-modern business premises

– However, there was resistance from alleged touts and traders who claim they were not given a specific date for the exercise

– Chris Onyekachi, whose firm is saddled with the responsibility to rebuild the market, says stakeholders were carried along before the demolition

Policemen, mostly operatives of the Lagos task force, on Friday, November 8, stormed the popular Ketu fruit market in the state as the business premises was reportedly up for demolition.

The market, Legit.ng understands, would now be replaced with a N2.8 billion ultra-modern trading complex awarded by the Ikosi-Isheri council.

However, the demolition squad clashed with alleged touts who engaged in protests and hauled stones at government officials and security operatives in an effort to resist the demolition.

This, it was learnt, forced the task force operatives to engage in isolated shootings and use of tear gas to disperse them and other traders who were not willing to leave the premises.

The affected traders expressed diverse opinions over the action of the government with some arguing that they were not allowed into the market to salvage what was left of their businesses while the demolition was ongoing.

Some of the traders, including the local coordinator of the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC), Adebowale Adetona, claimed they were not given a particular date for the exercise even though they confirmed being informed that the demolition would occur.

In his reaction, Chris Onyekachi, managing director of the firm investing in the proposed market, told journalists that the affected traders had ample time to leave the market because they were duly informed.

According to him, meetings were held with stakeholders, including the market union and traditional rulers ahead of the exercise.

He noted that the traders were given three weeks which expired and was extended with another seven days.

“Some people kicked against it and because we want peace to reign, we met with the obas and we saw reasons why the market should be reconstructed.

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“Some miscreants don’t want the redevelopment. We are not interested in chasing people away from the market. Those who own shop earlier will be considered first in re-allocation at a discounted rate,” he promised saying the plan is to upgrade the market, which occupies 25 acres of land, in line with the mega city standard of the state.

“We have 18 month duration to rebuild the market and we will invest about N2.8 billion in the reconstruction. The reconstruction of the first phase will begin in January,” he disclosed.

Legit.ng earlier reported how the popular Balogun market in Lagos recently went up in flames destroying wares running into billions of naira.

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