Lagos State Governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola (SAN) on Tuesday formally handed over the ultra modern 571 shops capacity Isopakodowo Market in Oshodi to the people, informing that 374 allotees have already been resettled in the market out of those who were moved away from the roads and Railway line in Oshodi.
The Governor, who spoke at the formal commissioning in Oshodi added that 50 stalls have been reserved for the Market Women Association as a fulfilment of his commitment to the late Iyaloja General of Nigeria, Alhaja Abibatu Mogaji, before her death while the balance would be worked out in due course for the entitled allotees.
He said if the total number of traders who were moved away from the roads in Oshodi which stood at 550 when the total inventory was taken is compared with the total number of shops in the Isopakodowo market which is 571, it means the government still has a surplus to cater for more people.
While acknowledging that the regeneration of Oshodi is a work in progress, the Governor enumerated some of the positive spin-offs of the initiative. “What is important is that our work in Oshodi is not finished, because of that clean up the Agege Motor Road that was abandoned for over 30 years has become a major thoroughfare reducing journey times, providing a more pleasant travelling experience and relieving pressure on Ikorodu road, apart from that the clearing of railway line has helped to develop some form of railway transport without any injury or threat to life and property.
“Oshodi is now safer at night and Lagos is safer today because the impact of Oshodi used to spread around Lagos. It used to be a sore point for our country. It was on the internet and newspapers for all of the wrong reasons. But it has now taken its pre-eminent pride of place on the global scale because it is now in the international news for all the right reasons.
“We are doing the roads, Ogunlana and Oshodi road- the contractor would soon be mobilized to site. On Oyetayo and Church Streets, work is on-going there. You have been told that there are toilets and water provided here, there is also generator here. You have to meet amongst yourself and the Ministry of Works through the Office of Facility Management to determine how to ensure the sustenance of the operation of the generators and its fuelling as well as the upkeep of the conveniences”, he explained.
Describing Oshodi as a major commercial centre, Governor Fashola said in order to strengthen its ability to remain a commercial centre and for empowering women who according to him “are the champions of our entrepreneurship endeavours”, Government would continue its own developmental work in more roads, street lighting, security, community projects and other projects.
He congratulated the contractor, Messrs Provida Investments for a job well done, recalling that whilst the State Government was looking for the place to resettle those that it moved from the Railway line in order to provide a thoroughfare for Lagosians and from the main Agege Motor Road, he stumbled upon the development that was being made at the present Isopakodowo at the contractor’s own volition and he quickly engaged him in a discussion which ultimately led to the success story of the market project.
Governor Fashola added,” The contractor designed and constructed this magnificent market which is modern in every way and provided it with 22 toilets, security cameras, a borehole for water supply and two generators for uninterrupted power supply”.
He also appealed that on no account should K-Klamp stalls be erected on the open space and parking space in the market, warning that if any of such is erected, it would be dismantled by the State Government.
The Governor emphasized that the open spaces should be preserved to act as a common ground for the traders who could even make use of it as a venue for holding meetings while in the market without disrupting the original lay out plan for the market.
Governor Fashola who paid glowing tributes to the memory of late Iyaloja General of Nigeria, Alhaja Abibatu Mogaji recalled that when government started work on the clearing of Oshodi, some uninformed people insinuated that the present administration does not favour traders, but he reassured Mama Mogaji then that no one could like traders more than he does because he is a product of traders.
He reiterated that his point then was that street trading was an ill wind which blows no one any good as there have been instances when people who sold across the rail or on Oshodi road, had been run over by vehicles in accidents.
He expressed happiness that his promise of providing a befitting alternative for the Oshodi displaced traders has been fulfilled, maintaining that if anyone would talk about women empowerment, the provisions of the stalls represents real empowerment as it gives the women the opportunity to work, trade and make profit.
The Governor urged Local Government Chairmen, Ward Chairmen, Councillors, market leaders and opinion leaders in the area to take up the task of asking questions when people want to build new structures to confirm if such structures have approved permits and if they do not, the attention of the government should be called to it.
He reiterated his appeal that those who engage in selling by the roadside should desist because they sometimes make it very difficult for would- be buyers to navigate their ways into the market to patronize the traders.
He urged all developers in the Oshodi area and other markets to emulate the building layout which ensured that the top floors are designed for residential purposes while the ground floors are solely shops, adding that anyone intent on building such in any of the commercial areas in the State should come forward for a building permit.
Speaking earlier, the state Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Dr Obafemi Hamzat, said in order to take the people away from the streets, the government has provided the market so that people can engage in buying and selling in a peaceful, nice and secure environment.
He added that the Isopakodowo Market which is made up of six blocks of shops with 22 toilets, fire fighting equipments, 64 CCTV camera is another signature of the intent of Governor Fashola to develop every sphere of the society that is called Lagos.
The impressive event was attended by the state Deputy Governor, Hon (Mrs) Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire; other members of the state executive council including the state Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters, Hon Ademorin Kuye; Chairman of Oshodi- Isolo Local Government, Mr Bolaji Muse-Ariyoh; the Iyaloja- General of Lagos State, Mrs Folashade Tinubu-Ojo; the contractor, Alhaji Abdul Sanni; and market men and women and traders from various markets in the state.