There was chaos on Sunday morning at Alade market Allen Avenue Ikeja as traders in the market blocked every entrance into the market preventing the concessionaires from commencing the redevelopment work at the market.
The Lagos State government had signed a contract in 2010 with Master Reality International Concepts for the redevelopment of the market into a N6.9 billion mega shopping mall under a 30-year concession on a Build, Own and Transfer (BOT) basis.
The Traders citing non-provision of an alternative market for their relocation refused to let the contractors work. Consequently, the concessionaire forcefully shut down the market, taking possession, to begin the redevelopment in accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that was signed in 2010.
The intervention of the Executive Secretary of Ikeja Local Government, Mr Adekunle Adeokun, led to the re-opening of the market as a 15-man committee had been set up to fashion out the relocation of the traders to a new market, built for them beside the main market.
Adeokun, who spoke on behalf of the state government and the council which approved the upgrade of the market, said the redevelopment of the market into a mega mall was not negotiable, adding that the traders had to pave way for the contractor to move to site.
He said most of the traders kicking against the project were not the original shop owners and that the contractor had invested money on the project since the MoU was signed five years ago. Adeokun explained that since the money must be paid back, the project must be completed on time.
Also speaking on the development, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Masters Reality International Concepts Ltd, Lai Omotola said for the past five years, they have been meeting with the marketers to move them to another place they have built for them but they have refused to move, saying they were not okay with the alternative provided.
He explained further that the company’s cash-flow had been affected as the lender banks were becoming impatient to get their money back. Omotola added that if all things went on as planned, the developer would complete the project between 18 and 24 months, adding that the company had the plan to build another 130 shops aside the 194 already built, to move the traders to pave way for the project.