Traders at the popular Sabo Akarigbo market in Sagamu, Ogun State, on Thursday, protested the shortage of shops following reconstruction of the market gutted by fire in 2020.
The market was razed down on January 28, 2020, leaving properties worth millions of naira destroyed.
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The traders, mostly women, said over 3,000 open stores and lock-up shops were destroyed by the inferno.
However, the state government had reconstructed only 188 out of the over 3,000 shops.
The traders are expressing concerns that the development would plunge the market into crisis.
The market women stormed Sagamu streets on Thursday in protest against the shortage of shops and irregularities in the reconstruction.
Armed with placards with various inscriptions, the traders, singing solidarity songs, embarked on the street demonstration, causing traffic gridlock for hours on the popular Akarigbo street.
Some of the inscriptions read: “Save Our Souls”, “Our members are dying”, “Save us from this harsh weather”, “Mr Governor, why demolish our market when you are not ready to rebuild?”, “In January you promised to REBUILD our Market in 3 months. It is now October”, among others.
Speaking with newsmen, the Secretary of Sabo Market, Abdulrahaman Ojuolape, said the traders were not satisfied with the reconstruction, saying; “we are in dilemma on how to allocate 188 shops to over 3,000 beneficiaries.
A trader, Mrs Kemi Ogunowo, said there was a need for the government to ensure all shops demolished are reconstructed to give all traders sense of belonging.
Ogunowo lamented that the 188 shops reconstructed out of 3,000 are “grossly inadequate.”
She said: “The government has only reconstructed 188 shops, while we lost more than 3,000 shops to the inferno.
“If they should allocate the 188 shops, a number of traders would be shortchanged and that could lead to crisis.
“We are begging our governor to help rebuild the remaining shops before it is too late.”
Reacting, the Chairman of Sagamu Local Government Area, Afolabi Odulate, said the 188 shops are part of the first phase of the reconstruction, saying the government is poised to provide enough shops for the traders at the market.
Odulate explained that the reconstruction was part of the government’s commitment to providing a conducive trading environment to the market men and women after last year’s inferno.
“There is a process to everything and I have been trying to explain things to them.
“We know it is not enough, I personally took it upon myself to go to Abeokuta to speak with the commissioner that they should release it to local government to do the completion of the rest and they agreed.
“We are packaging our proposal which I will take to Abeokuta on Monday,” Odulate said.