Urban renewal programme embarked upon by the Lagos State government is receiving a setback in some areas, specifically, in Mushin, the home of the adjudged West Africa’s largest spare parts, Ladipo market and Lagos Mainland, that include Willoughby, Cemetery and part of Herbert Macaulay axis, in Ebute Metta, observed Town Planners and government officials.
To some who spoke with the Nigerian Tribune, there is need for a permanent solution to the recurrent crises of environmental nuisance and abuse of use of public installations and infrastructure, often caused by the traders.
A casual visit to these areas would revealed a lot of in discipline behaviours, ranging from traffic infractions, blockade of access roads, indiscriminate of wastes dumping in the canal and drainages.
For example, between Five Star Bus stop, to Toyota, en route Murtala Muhammed International Airport, the side way has been taken over by the artisans who have turned the roadside to vehicle repair workshop.
“It’s only in this part of the world can roadside on expressway turned into auto repair workshop, that include panel beaters, vehicle painters, mechanics, rewires, or what have you, simply the location is close to Ladipo market.
“Similar scenario is playing out at the Mainland, especially, at Oyingbo. This is a clear antithesis to urban renewal drive being vigorously pursued by the government,” said Said Kolawole, a Town Planner, who asked government, in collaboration with the leadership of the affected traders to seat down and choose a better location outside the metropolis.
Before the current administration came in, efforts were made on severally on the relocation of some of these markets, particularly, Ladipo.
Indications first emerged shortly after former Governor, Babatunde Fashola, after a violent fight broke out in the area, forcing government to close down the market.
He gave three major conditions to the market dealers and traders, under which he said the state government would not re-open the market.
A government source disclosed that a committee headed by the former Commissioner for the Environment, Mr Tunji Bello, who, co-incidentally, now the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), then recommended the relocation of the market on the grounds that the place “is no longer ideal for market” with the growing population of Lagos.
Though the recommendation had not been adopted, (at least not publicly known, before the expiration of Fashola’s administration), the committee, which comprised experts on environmental management, had suggested Ikorodu or Badagry as the likely areas, where the market of that capacity could be situated with a little or no negative impact on the environment.
Although, out of consideration for the traders, even if the report which recommended the relocation was adopted, government was not dispose to arbitrary enforcement and that was part of what a source in the Ministry for Environment cited as reason for the delay.
“Government will definitely give time line for the relocation and also make necessary preparation towards the plan, which we hope will solve the problems,” said the official who asked not to be named.
The source explained that the state government had lost billions of naira, which it expended “to build road infrastructure and comprehensive drainage system in Ladipo and its axis.
“Activities of the dealers and traders caused the road damage. People trade on the road and walk-sides.
The artisans who operate on the tarred road and discharge oil products on the road made of asphalt, making the road disintegrate.
We cannot continue to lose tax payers’ money like this,” the source said.
During the inspection, the governor explained that “the market was shut after warnings and visits by different teams of the state government functionaries; yet the traders did not heed the warning.”
Government, had all along, described the state of the market as massive degradation of a section of the state.
“It is a massive degradation of a section of Lagos and this is not acceptable. People should not carry on like this.
“But what is, perhaps, worthy of note is that the traders who are involved have yet to see the magnitude of error of what they have being doing, as they flagrantly disobeying environmental and traffic laws in carrying out their activities.
“Also, one can sympathised with the present government because he met on ground, many settlements that required relocation exercise, such Computer Village, Mile 12 market, Okobaba Sawmill, and so on, where a lot of money had already spent, and none yet to be completed,” said Alhaji Kolawole, a community leader in Mushin.
Culled from tribuneonlineng.com