Officials of the Lagos State Government have begun the demolition of the Araromi Oke-Odo Ile-Epo market in the state.
The demolition exercise, which is ongoing at the time of this report, has created pandemonium in the market and its environs.
This newspaper had earlier reported that the officials invaded the market with bulldozers early Friday morning.
Ten days ago, PREMIUM TIMES reported the impending demolition and how the government had arrested top officials of the market, including an octogenarian.
On Friday, many traders were thrown into confusion as they ran to pack their goods shortly after the demolition began.
The invasion, which started from the Lagos-Abeokuta expressway end of the market, was coordinated by officials of the Lagos environmental safety agency and armed police.
Some thugs were also recruited to harass passersby and prevent them from taking pictures of the demolition exercise.
A PREMIUM TIMES reporter at the scene of the incident was harrassed and his phones taken away from him momentarily until he struggled to regain the phones.
The demolition also caused heavy gridlock on the Lagos-Abeokuta expressway with many road users stuck in the traffic.
A trader who identified himself as Garba told PREMIUM TIMES many of the traders could not salvage their goods from their stalls before the invasion began.
“Many who owned stalls at the frontal part where they began the demolition could not pack out their goods, ” he said.
“But those at the back have packed some things as you can see.”
Another trader, Tawa Kehinde, said the demolition was an affront on the poor because many would have their sources of livelihood blocked.
He called on the government to reconsider its steps.
“Many people will die from the losses incurred from this demolition, ” she said in Yoruba.
At the far end of the road, some traders already had a makeshift ‘market’ stationed at the road side to sell the remnants of their goods.
The demolition was carried out allegedly on the instance of the Agbado Oke Odo Local Council Development Area.
According to PREMIUM TIMES, the officials at the scene however declined to speak to their correspondent when asked about the authorising body that gave the demolition order.
More to come…