By Blessing Oziwo
The Lagos State Government has issued a 14-day eviction notice to the occupants of the Alaba Rago Market in the state. The government gave the eviction notice through a joint team of Rapid Response Squad and Lagos Taskforce.
The government of the state is seeking to modernize the market along the Lagos-Badagry Expressway.
In a statement on Thursday, the government said the decision was reached after several months of negotiation with representatives of the occupiers of Alaba Rago over the modernisation of the market.
The statement was titled, ‘Alaba Rago: Lagos serves eviction notices’.
The Commander, RRS, Chief Superintendent of Police, Olayinka Egbeyemi on Thursday, during a sensitization visit to the market with a joint team including the Chairman of Lagos State Environment and Special Offences Unit (Taskforce), Sola Jejeloye, met with traders of the market in clusters to inform them of the 14-day vacation order.
According to Egbeyemi the emerging intelligence security reports from the area have shown that “Alaba Rago has become a den of criminals”, stressing that the state government has concluded plans to modernize the place in the shortest possible time in the best interest of the residents.
He said, “last week’s recovery of several guns in the market by Ojo Police Division and the revelation by drug dealers that they regularly funnel drugs through the area to several parts of the state is the reason why the government has decided to move swiftly to modernise the area and beget orderliness.
“that the demolition of the area conforms with Government’s T.H.E.M.E.S agenda on Environment and Security”, adding that Government was worried by the shanties and the filthy conditions of the area, hence, modernising it would be in the best interest of the occupiers.
Egbeyemi, therefore, pleads with the occupiers not to read ethnic and religious motives into the exercise, saying that “Lagos State is a convergence point for all Nigerian, irrespective of religion, ethnicity or tribes.”
Jejeloye noted that series of meetings had been held with all the major stakeholders in the past and that the demolition should have taken place during Ramadan, The Trumpet gathered.
He added that Government was sensitive to delay it in order for those who travelled for Ramadan to be around.
“After the 14-day ultimatum for occupiers to temporarily relocate for the cleaning up and modernisation, the team will not listen to further excuses from the affected traders,” Jejeloye stated.