Hundreds of traders at the popular Sabo, Akarigbo market in Sagamu area of Ogun state yesterday appealed to governor Dapo Abiodun to fulfill his promise of reconstructing the market after last year inferno.
The traders, who made the appeal during a protest, alleged that the government had neglected them since the market got burnt. They thronged the streets of Sagamu carrying placards with various inscriptions which include; ‘His Excellency, Prince Dapo Abiodun, our market has been demolished, please help us.’ ‘We are in the sun and dust.
Our health is suffering, our businesses are dying. Sir, please have mercy, please come to our aid.’ The Sabo market had on January 28, 2020 razed down by fire which destroyed properties worth millions of naira. Not less than 100 shops in the market were reported to have been destroyed by the fire.
Abiodun had visited the market to assess the level damage and promised to rebuild the market for the traders. However, a year after the incident, the traders lamented that the governor had not fulfilled his promise to rebuild the market. The traders claimed the state government through the Ministry of housing only came to demolish the damaged shops and cleared the debris.
They noted that no serious work had been done for the reconstruction of the market. Speaking on behalf of the traders, Oluwakemi Ogunawo appealed to the governor to intervene in rebuilding the market before the coming raining season.
Ogunawo while narrating the experiences of traders at the market since the inferno incident complained that many traders have suffered unquantifiable loss.
She lamented that the health of many traders at the market is deteriorating because they sell under the sun and dust. She added that many traders could not repay loans borrowed in doing business since there were no shops to display goods.
She said, “I want to plead with our Governor, Dapo Abiodun. We are appealing to him to help in reconstructing this market for us because many of our colleagues in this market have died due to sun and dust.
“We are really suffering in Sabo Market. We are appealing to him because it is a year now that this market got burnt and since a year, nothing was done here. “The government gave us just four days quit notice to pack our goods when they wanted to demolish the remaining part.
We have packed all our goods to the house, we are borrowing money to sell and for some weeks now, we have not been selling. People that we borrowed money from are holding us, dragging us to pay their money and we don’t have anywhere to sell the goods .All our goods are in the house because the dust is too much for us; the dust will spoil our market.
“We are appealing to the governor because he is our governor and we know he has a listening ear, he is a capable governor and he can do it, that is why he destroyed it. We are begging him to come and do for us in time because time is going and rain is coming”.
The traders also in their large numbers stormed the palace of the Akaarigbo and paramount ruler of Remoland, Oba Babatunde Ajayi to express their grievances.
While receiving the protesting traders, the Baamofin of Remoland, Bayo Onafuwa said the paramount ruler who is presently not available has promised to ensure a quick reconstruction of the market. Onafuwa appealed to the trader to be peaceful as the monarch is doing everything possible to ensure the market is rebuilt. “He, Kabiyesi is not around.
But we have made him aware of this protest and he has instructed us to let the market women know that he would be around to meet them next week. But in the main time, they should be peaceful, go about their market and not allow people with bad intention to hijack their protest.
“We understand what they are going through but, you have to break egg to make omelet. The government has good intention of making the market a modern new market but timing is always the issue.
I believe with the help of Kabiyesi, everything will be sorted out in such a way that whatever pains that will come with the development will be greatly minimized. Let us all be patient and everything will be resolved peacefully”.
In his reaction, the Ogun state Commissioner for Housing, Jagunmolu Omoniyi promised to handover not less than 200 shops as the first cluster to the traders by May 2021. The commissioner explained that the government will begin construction in the market by next week. He noted that act of following due process in rebuilding the market was responsible for the slow in pace of work.
He further said, “I am happy to tell you that the state government takes the interest of our people very seriously and we value the economic emancipation of our people.
“The governor and his team have considered and approved the reconstruction of Sabo market, Sagamu. If you could recall, the Shanties were brought down late last year. We were able to level all the shanties to pave way for the new construction that will come in place.
“Before we would move to site, there are basic things we need to do. We cannot say because we are in government we should circumvent the necessary approval process.
That is what we started doing right from the first day of this year. we were able to submit our preliminary plans and drawings to the ministry of physical and urban planning, so that they can vet whatever we are going to do. By that way, we will not be in contravention of laid down rules and regulations.
“Within the next one week or thereabout, I will be very pleased to convene gentlemen of the press on a special tour to that project. “The first cluster, which is around 150 to 200 shops will be delivered to the market women and traders of Sabo, Sagamu come May, 2021.
That is a commitment that the state government has taken up and we are committed to delivering that.”