Traders oppose upgrade of Lagos market

Lagos traders ask state to halt planned demolition of Iyana Ipaja market.

Traders in the north Lagos suburb Iyana Ipaja have appealed to the state government to block the local council's plan to demolish the existing Rauf Aregbesola market in order to upgrade it.

The traders say the council is attempting to take over their 110 shops, which they have operated on an owner-occupier basis since the market was established in 2004.

They fear that the council could be using the upgrading plan as a ruse to evict current tenants from their low-level shops in order to lease the redeveloped, high-rise facilities to new traders at increased rents.

The traders cite as an example the recent dawn demolition of the central Oshodi market, ostensibly over security concerns, before its occupants were relocated to new premises at Isopakodowo market at Bolanle in north-east Lagos.

The Oshodi market, which was levelled in the early hours of 6 January under tight security, had been in operation for 40 years. The state government subsequently said that the market site would be transformed into an ultra-modern bus terminus.