Sabo Market Demolition: Government Intervenes As Ikorodu Residents Insist On Unraveling ‘Unknown’ Culprits
-We Are Satisfied With State Govt, Assembly’s Interventions – Victims
-We Will Get To The Bottom of The Matter – Lagos Assembly
-Ask My Predecessors – Ogunleye tells lawmakers
-I’m Not The One Responsible for the demolition–Adeshina
Like the northern star, the Sabo market saga has refused to go away as victims and residents of Ikorodu are demanding that those responsible for what they described as inhuman and heinous acts must be made public and sanctioned appropriately.
The uncertain political situation especially in the All Progressives Congress (APC) occasioned by the disagreements that characterized the just concluded primary elections for the forthcoming local government elections in Lagos State has also not help matter.
But from all indications, the affected marketers in Section B of Ayangbure Commodity market popularly called Sabo market, seem to be satisfied with the interventions by the State Government and Lagos State House of assembly so far.
Accusing fingers have been pointed at the Sole Administrator of Ikorodu Local Central Government, Mr Gbolahan Ogunleye, former Executive Secretary, Mr Wasiu Adeshina, Iya Oloja-General of Ikorodu Division who also doubled as Iya Oloja of Ikorodu Central, Alhaja Taofeekat Allison, officials of the Ikorodu Central Local Government and Lagos State Building Control Agency (LABCA)
Also accused are developers engaged by the council for the redevelopment of the market.
So far, the demolition, according to report gathered, has claimed about four lives as a result of the money, properties and goods worth several millions of naira lost in the dastardly act.
Many of the victims we learnt had stocked their shops with goods bought with loans days and weeks before the demolition by unknown soldiers and agents. Some of the marketers were said to have also lost cash running into several millions of naira to the demolition.
It would be recalled that the demolition, which has been described as a tale of ‘sorrow, tears and blood’,took place at the Ayangbure (Sabo) market in Ikorodu Central Local Government of Ikorodu division,when ‘unknown’ caterpillar protected by ‘unknown’ soldiers moved into the market in the early hours of Thursday, May 4, 2017, to demolish hundreds of shops while properties and goods worth several millions of naira were also destroyed in the process.
There have been several interventions thereafter by the community and government.Meanwhile, a major step towards unearthening the culprits behind the demolition was recently taken by the Lagos State House of Assembly with promise to the victims and generality of Ikorodu residents who are calling for justice, that the truth about the demolition and its perpetrators will be brought to the open.
Since the dastard act, there have been intense protests on social media calling for investigation into the matter.
Lagos State House of Assembly’s Intervention
The Special committee set up by the State Assembly on June 7,2017, visited the market to get first hand information about the incident.We also gathered that those whose names were mentioned have also been invited to appear before the Assembly.
Confirming the matter before the Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon. Sanai Agunbiade,the Majority Leader of the House and lawmaker representing Ikorodu Constituency1, in a release stated that the Assembly’s intervention is necessary to clear his name and find succor for the victims of the demolition.
Explaining his reasons, Hon. Agunbiade stated: “I invite you to recall that on the 4th day of May, 2017, over 100 shops were demolished at the Sabo Market in Ikorodu with attending incidental losses to shop owners.
The victims of the carnage cried themselves to a hoax, while accusing fingers started to fly in different directions on social media.”
“Some, out of mischief and a few out of ignorance,concluded that I must know about the demolition, being the representative of the constituency in the House of Assembly. But God bless the very few individuals who were bold enough to educate my accusers on the distinct roles of legislators.
Stating how his efforts to get those who were responsible for the demolition at different governmental agencies met a brick wall,Hon Agunbiade stated, “When my enquries at the Ministry of Physical Planning and Ikorodu Local Government Council were to no avail as both the Commissioner and Sole Administrator denied knowledge of the Gestapo-like demolition, I only empathised with the victims and promised not to relent until the perpetrators are uncovered.
“Upon this promise, as expected of me as the representative of the people in whose votes were invested, I took the matter to the House of Assembly few weeks after the incident and pleaded for enquiry into the embarrasing matter. The House acceeded and committed the matter to the appropriate committee.
“The committe invited the victims, market leaders as well as the officials of both the Ministry of Physical Planning and Ikorodu Local Government led by the Commissioner and Sole Administrator respectively. It is instructive to state here that Mr Wasiu Adesina, the former Executive Secretary of the Council, was not invited”,he explained.
But it was however gathered that the former Executive Secretary was later invited by the Assembly Committee based on the strength of the incumbent Sole Administrator’s position that the contract for the redevelopment of the shops demolished was awarded before he came on board and that he inherited the crises.
Former Executive Secretary’s Position
In an exclusive interview with THE IMPACT, Mr Wasiu Adeshina, former executive Secretary, Ikorodu Central Local Governmwent, however, denied any involvement in the demolition.
His words,“No. Why should I be involved in the demolition of Sabo market? In what capacity would I be involved when I’m not a developer and I don’t have any company that is interested in building anything in Sabo market.The development of Sabo market has been on for a very long time.”
He alleged that his accusers are only playing politics with the Sabo market demolition.“What they are saying is all political. What is happening at Sabo market concerning the redevelopment is change and some people are jealous about it.I am referring to effort to modernize the market and not the demolition. Some people are just shouting my name for political reasons.”
He explained that the redevelopment of Sabo market started during the tenure of Alhaji Sheriff Anipole and that he only continued with the project since government is a continum.
“The development of Sabo market started as far back as 2013 during Alhaji Anipole’s administration and the councilors were with him then. They approved the redevelopment of Sabo market. The Councillors then were Hon. Jimoh Azeez Olosugbo who was the leader of the house and a member of Onward Group. There was also Hon. Awobajo, Hon. Shokunbi Adeleke and Hon. Abideen who were also Onward Group members. There were also Hon. Jaiyesimi Nurudeen, Hon. Oshodi Olorunwa and Hon. Shamsideen Ayanlaja-Bork. These are the councilors who approved the redevelopment of Sabo market in 2013. It is not as if what is happening in Sabo market is all about Onward as a body.”
Mr Adesina while explaining the process that was involved in the controversial redevelopment stated that,
“During this time, it was unanimously agreed by the council that the old allotees of the market would pay #600,000:00 while the new allotees would pay #1,200,000:00 for 25 years. This was the existing template I met on ground when serving as the Executive Secretary of Ikorodu Local Government. The agreement was reached after several meetings between the council and Market representatives and they all agreed to pay these amount for 25 years.”
Marketers’ Positions 52 Days After Illegal Demolition
Fifty-two days after the illegal demolition of over 500 shops in Section B of Ayangbure (Sabo) market in Ikorodu, all seem to have been resolved between the Ikorodu Local Government and the affected marketers.
In an interview with Mr Nwobuisi Patrick, Chairman of the affected section,he stated that the marketers are satisfied with steps taken so far by both executive and legislative arms of the Lagos State Government.
“The State Government has tried to bring the culprits of the illegal demolition to justice. On behalf of the Section B marketers,I thank Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode for rising up to the occasion. He has been very wonderful and he has also responded quickly in a way and manner that gave us hope and assurance. He also sent his security personnel to look into the matter. We equally appreciative of the Lagos State House of Assembly’s intervention through our own, Hon. SOB Agunbiade ”,Mr Patrick stated.
“They have also called us to several meetings. It has been a very transparent process because we can see all that they are doing. The government had also called all the parties( marketers,officials of the Ikorodu Central Local Government and personnel of Lagos State Building Control Agency,LABCA) to a meeting to listen to all sides and the investigation is still on. The governor has asked us to bring our own developer and we have done that and also did an undertaken for all the parties to seal the agreement that we are going to use our own developer. The governor does not want to see us suffering since he knows what we have been through.”
“Hon. Agunbiade has been trying to listen to us and has equally been addressing our problems. We have been invited twice and he had listened to us on both occasions. We are satisfied with the way the matter has been handled and we are also pleased with Hon SOB’s intervention. He has also told us that he knew nothing about the demolition contrary to what some people are saying. It is as a result of his intervention that the Lagos State House of Assembly has intervened in our matter”, Mr Patrick stated.
Mr Patrick also confirmed to our reporter that as part of the resolution process, the affected marketers have been asked to get their own developer for the redevelopment of the illegally demolished section. This is contrary to the previous position of the council which is hell bent on imposing its own contractor on the marketers.
“Yes, we have been asked to bring our preferred contractor to redevelop the market at a rate which we (the marketers)can afford. The contractor which the marketers sought then offered to develop Section B at the rate of N300,000 per shop contrary to the N600,000 per shop charged by the council’s contractor.But there is no problem between us and our developer. It was also agreed that the old tenants of Section B will automatically occupy the shops when the place is redeveloped unlike in other sections where the old owners were displaced. The government has also assured us that it will not allow such unfortunate incident to happen again”,he stated with sense of fulfillment.
To show the satisfaction of the victims with the intervention of the state government which has brought about amicable resolution of the matter, Mr Patrick stated that they are in the process of withdrawing the matter from the court.
“We are trying to settle the matter out of court since we have had an understanding with the council. Till yesterday, we were at the state secretariat to get things sorted out and very soon we are going to resolve everything. Within two to three weeks, we should get the matter settled out of court and resolve the whole issue completely.”
“The government has asked us to compile the list of the marketers affected by the demolition and estimation of their respective losses which we have done and taken to the governor’s office. I strongly think that they are working on it and they will get back to us soon”, he stated regarding the compensation for the loss suffered by the victims of the illegal demolition.
Meanwhile, the affected marketers, through their chairman,have alleged that Sabo market has no management and have also accused Alhaja Taofeekat Allison, the Iya-Oloja of Ikorodu, of dictatorship and mismanagement.
“Presently, the market has no management. It has been a one-man empire as our so-called head is operating solely. There is no relationship between us. Since our section was illegally demolished on May 4, she has not been here nor call us to sympathise with us. She has been going up and down to castigate us over the demolition. We don’t have any management”, Mr Patrick stated.
“We pay money to the management but don’t know where the money is going to and that is why I said that we don’t have a management in the market. She does whatever she likes. We should be able to do things for ourselves first before calling on the government”, he stated.
Mr Patrick could not however deny nor affirm the alleged death of four victims of the demolition who were said to have suffered shock as a result of the losses recorded in the demolition but admitted to know about the death of a woman whose shop was involved in the demolition.
“I had about the death of the four marketers but it’s only one I’m aware of. We are planning to go to her family but we learnt that she was taken to her village for burial and the husband is yet to return.”
Efforts to reach the duo of Alhaja Taofeekat Allison,Iyaloja of Sabo market and Ikorodu division and Mr Gbolahan Ogunleye,Sole Administrator of Ikorodu Central Local Government,for their comments on the issue before press time proved abortive as calls placed to their mobile phones were not answered.
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