Officials of the Lagos State Taskforce on Environmental and Special Offences (Enforcement), led by its Chairman, Bayo Sulaiman, stormed the market as early as 4am on Monday.
The market was shut down following the filthy nature of its environment and alleged refusal of the traders to keep it clean, despite several warnings by the state environment officials.
During his visit to the market recently, the Commissioner for Environment, Tunji Bello decried the terrible state of the market environment, describing it as worrisome.
The traders were dispersed by taskforce officials with several canisters of teargas being shot into the air to ward them off. Hundreds of policemen were on ground to keep the traders away from attacking the task-force officials.
An Armored Personnel Carrier, APC was stationed at the Toyota end of the Apapa-Oshodi expressway, while the area was barricaded with fierce-looking officers and men of the Rapid Respond Squad (RRS).
One of the affected traders, who craved anonymity said, “We don’t like the closure. It will bring suffering to us. We
came in this morning and met our market shut and the police stopped us from entering. No notice was given to us and what are we going to do now?”
Taskforce Chairman, Sulaiman said the state government had several issues with the market, ranging from hooliganism, lack of toilet facilities, degradation of the environment with diesel and fuel as well as lawlessness that now breeds its head in the market.
“We came here two weeks ago, but the officials of the market did not show up. There is serious trading going on in the streets and there are lots of shanties here. We will make sure that this time around, proper sanitation is done by the traders before this market will be re-opened and they have to submit to the Chairman of Mushin Local Government,” he stated.
Confirming the closure, the Chairman, Mushin Local Government, Olatunde
Adepitan described the closure of the market as a welcome development and long overdue, saying this is the only way forward for the Local Government.
“The hooliganism here has gone out of control. These people have turned themselves to another government. When you interfere in their matters
here, they will tribalise the issue and that is why as a government we take things easy so that it will not escalate into a tribal issue.
“There is need to sanitise this place. The people here look at themselves as the Niger Delta of Mushin Local Government.
“We will liaise with the taskforce officials to ensure that before re-opening this market, registration forms will be given to the people so that we can know who is who and those who are trading here because inside the Aguiyi Ironsi Market here, there are criminals. There are arms right in the market and there are Bakassi Boys living inside this market,” he explained.
DailyPost has gathered that the Commissioner for Environment, Bello has given several conditions to be met before the market could be re-opened: These include, complete removal of all illegal structures and attached structures built along canal paths and that traders
must also be confined to the main markets.