The plan by the Iba Local Council Development Area, LCDA, to re-develop the Alaba Rago International Market, located along the busy Lagos-Badagry highway, in Lagos, seemed to have hit the rocks, as Hausa traders have vowed to stop the council from going ahead with the project.
In her opening speech during the stakeholders’ meeting at the council headquarters, Iba Town, Lagos State, recently, the Chairman of Iba LCDA, Mrs. Rahmat Richeal Oseni, stated that though previous leaderships of the council had planned to develop the market without success, but “this time around the council is more determined to develop the market and has concluded arrangements with a developer who has the financial resources and technical capacity to develop the market.”
She sued for the support and cooperation of the traders for the development of the new market project, while assuring them that they would not lose their shops, promising that the shops would be affordable at the end of the project.
Speaking on behalf of the Hausa traders, Alhaji Adamu Katagun stated that the Hausa traders had traded and invested heavily in the development of Araba Rago Market for over 45 years, even as he insisted that Araba Rago Market was given to Hausa traders the way Ojo Alaba International Market and Tanzania Market were given to Igbo and Yoruba, respectively. According to him, “Hausa constitute over 90% of the traders in this market. The way Ojo Alaba International Market and Tanzania Market were given to Igbo and Yoruba, that is the same way Alaba Rago was given to Hausa traders.
“For over 45 years, Hausa traders have been in this market, and have invested heavily in the development that you see so far in Araba Rago. Before we settled here, the entire place was swampy, but we laboured over the years to sand fill it to make it habitable for trading. Within these years, we have never defaulted in the payment of various levies to Iba LCDA, even when the council has never executed any project in this market, not even a trip of sand or stones to repair roads in the market.”
While rejecting the plan by the council to demolish the market and re-develop it, Katagun insisted that traders would want the council to hand over the development plan of the market to enable them develop the market in line with the standards and specifications of the council. He said: “We are not against any plan by the council to develop the market, but what we are totally against is the plan to contract the development of the market to a private developer. We want to assure the council that we have the financial capacity to undertake the development of the market, and all we ask is for the council to hand over to us the development plan to enable us develop the market according to the specified standards of the government.”
In his contribution, the Sariken Hausawa of the Market, Alhaji Mustapha Sokoto called on the council to partner the traders in the redevelopment of the market instead of using private developers, saying that the traders were afraid that private developers would make the shops unaffordable to them if involved in the new market project.
The highpoint of the occasion was a 3-D presentation of the new market development plan. Following disagreements over key strategic partnerships to the new market development plan and other issues, the meeting ended inclusively.
Some personalities who attended the event were Oba Goriola Oseni, Oniba of Ibaland; Mrs Rahmat Oseni, Chairman, Iba LCDA; Alhaji Mustapha Sokoto, Sariken Hausawa of Alaba Rago, Alhaji Adamu Katagun, top council officials, former council leaders, delegations of Hausa and other traders.