The Mile 12 Traders Association, Lagos, has urged the Lagos State Government to upgrade the market instead of relocating to Imota area of the state.
The traders made the plea at a news conference on Thursday in Lagos.
The Secretary, Shukurah Yam Market, Mr Collins Obichukwu and the Chairman, Provision and Electronics Section, Chief Sunday Ossai, who spoke for the traders, said the traders were not consulted before making the decision to relocate.
Obichukwu suggested aid that the government should develop the market into a modern one with functional facilities like it did at Sura, Apongbon and Tejuosho markets with minimum hardship to the traders.
The trader said that the proposed relocation of the market would be at variance with their position during the meeting held with the government when the market was shut.
He said that the traders had earlier agreed with the government that issues bordering on relocation would be subjected to extensive consultation with the stakeholders of the market.
“The government did not dialogue with us before making declaration of relocating the market within six months.
“How will a government make unilateral declaration on a matter that affects our livelihood and the masses without due consultation with the people that will be directly affected particularly in a democratic dispensation.
“Instead of relocating us, government should modernise our market; after all we also pay tax,’’ he said.
Ossai said that the report, which claimed that the traders had agreed to the relocation was false.
He alleged that the traders were coerced by the state government to agree to relocation as a condition before the market could be reopened after the bloody clash in the area.
“We agreed under duress because the market had been closed for two weeks.
“We were hungry, our goods were rotting away and we were recording financial losses.
“If the government does not have ulterior motive of converting the market into an estate as it is being speculated, they should develop the market with the necessary infrastructure,’’ Ossai said.
The Iyaloja of Orisumbare Market, Mrs Dupe Ojo, said the traders had invested billions of naira in the market, adding that relocating within six months would be difficult.
“Mile 12 market is an international market that provides employment to over 250, 000 people.
“We appeal to the government to develop the market just like they did to Tejuosho and Oyingbo markets for economic growth in the state,’’ Ojo said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Mile 12 Market had been in existence for over 40 years and it occupies over 20 hectares of land.