Traders at the Mile 12 Market in Lagos were on Friday thrown into confusion as a result of the presence of numerous security personnel in the area.
The Lagos State Ministry of The Environment sealed off the market on Feb. 1, alleging poor sanitary condition and traffic congestion in the area.
No fewer than 50 law enforcement officers, drawn from the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA), the Nigeria Police and Kick against Indiscipline (KAI), were parading the market.
It was also observed that all shops, right from the Kosofe Local Council Development Area Secretariat, Ketu, up to the area under the bridge at Mile 12, were locked up by the law enforcement agents.
Mr Akin Ogunlana, Head of General Operations, KAI, said that the presence of the security personnel was to ensure that the traders complied with the government directive on the closure of the market.
He said that the market could not be sealed off without locking up some of the shops, pointing out that activities around the shops were responsible for the persistent traffic gridlock in the area.
“We cannot seal off the market and leave the shops open because the shops are part of the market. The shops were extended to the walkways.
“The shop owners, while selling inside their shops, hire out the front of the shops to petty traders and these petty traders display their wares on the pathways.
“As a result of this, pedestrians are forced to compete with motorists for the use of the expressway and that is the major cause of traffic congestion in this area,” the KAI boss said.
Alhaji Haruna Muhammed, Chairman, Traders Association of Mile 12 Market, lamented the financial losses his members had incurred as a result of the closure of the market.
Muhammed told NAN that about 200 trucks conveying goods to the market had been compelled to park on the Lagos- Ibadan Expressway awating the reopening of the market.
“We are seriously appealing to the Lagos State Government to consider the plight of Lagos residents and re-open the market.
“Our goods, especially the perishable ones such as tomatoes, pepper and potatoes, are going bad and we have lost over N40 million in just three days of the closure and today is yet another day,” he said.
The association chairman said that traders at the market were ready to comply with all government’s directives, once the market was re-opened.
“We have set up a committee that will be controlling trucks that bring in our goods, to ensure that they do not park on the road.
“And we have also opened all the drains in the market and we have worked out an arrangement to ensure that they are regularly cleaned.
“We are doing all these because we do not want to destroy the cordial relationship with have with the state government,’’ he said.