The Lagos State Government on Wednesday warned traders in the habit of displaying their wares on the road for sale beyond the confines of the market thereby causing traffic gridlock and other environmental nuisance to desist henceforth otherwise markets where such illegal activities are perpetrated would be shut down till further notice.
The State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode, who handed down the warning at a meeting with leaders of Agbado Oke-Odo Market held at Lagos House in Ikeja, said the activities of the traders who are in such habit had reached a level which the State Government could no longer condone, hence the need for a final warning.
The Governor, who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Mr Tunji Bello, said the leaders of markets in the State have been warned and counseled severally on the need to rein in on their market men and women to desist from disturbing others through their trading activities on the roads, but some have become adamant.
He said aside causing avoidable and needless traffic, the traders were also in the habit of dumping their refuse on the road, thereby causing environmental and health hazards.
He said: “This is just to come and deliberate on the Agbado Oke-Odo Market because of the situation there. The market has become a stumbling block particularly to those using the road. The traders have blocked the Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway to the extent that even the contractors working there don’t have place to work because they have taken over the area.
“They cause a lot of traffic gridlock and people coming from Ota or from Abule Egba don’t have the road to connect other areas of the State. We have warned them consistently but we are yet to get any result. That is why we have summoned today’s meeting.
“The meeting is basically to call them to order and give them the last warning. The idea initially was to shut down the market today but the Governor decided that we should give them just one week to put things in order,” Bello said.
He said in as much as government was not interested in shutting down markets, but it would have no choice than to wield the big stick if traders continue constituting themselves as menace to other road users.
“What we are saying is that the government is not interested in shutting down any market because of the economic implication on the people who have to survive and live. As a government, we are not interested in shutting down business enterprises and all that, but if it is constituting menace and inconveniencing other people, we will have no choice than to wield the big stick, and that is why we are giving the market leaders the last warning to go and re-order their market.
“The leaders of the market must sit up and look at how to help government because we cannot say because we are trading, we should inconvenience people who go to work from Abule Egba to Lagos Island for instance and to other places and they have to spend hours on that road just because of the activities of the traders.
“Apart from that, we have a lot of filth on the road because the market people just dump their refuse on the road. We don’t want that anymore and that is why we are giving this last warning. We don’t want anybody on the road again and whatever we have to do internally as a government, we will not hesitate to do. We will send Task Force and the men of the Kick Against Indiscipline (KAI) to the place to ensure sanity.
“This warning to Agbado Oke-Odo traders also applies to other markets in the State. Any market where their traders are blocking the road and constituting menace to others will be shut down till further notice,” Bello threatened.
Responding on behalf of others, Babaloja Araromi Agbado Oke-Odo, Alhaji Mukaila Oyinlola, said as market leaders, they have warned the traders who are in the habit of selling on the road to desist, but their warnings have fallen on deaf ears, adding that the resolve of government was a welcome development.
Also, Iyaloja Araromi Oke-Odo Market, Mrs Dupe Shonola and Babaloja General of Agbado Oke-Odo Market, Alhaji Abiodun Kosoko urged government to make examples of the perpetrators of the illegal act, but called for expansion and modernization of the market.