We regard as unwholesome and unacceptable, strident efforts by former Kano State Governor, Dr Rabiu Kwankwaso (who now represents Kano Central Constituency at the Senate) to take sides with a section of the ethno-regional stakeholders in the Mile 12 Market, Lagos to oppose the movement of the market to a more befitting location at Imota.
Lagos State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode, announced plans to remove the market from Mile 12 in the Ketu axis following the recent bloody ethno-regional clashes in the market. The Mile 12 Market has, over the years, assumed the ill reputation of recording the highest number of clashes among the major ethnic groups in the market – the Hausa/Fulani, Yoruba and Igbo. The recent blood-letting which took place in March 2016 was marked by continued killings in the neighbouring communities even after the clashes were quelled by the law-enforcement agencies. Innocent people were slaughtered in the dead of the night and homes were burnt down.
People living around the market area live in perpetual fear. It will also be recalled that some years ago after the security agencies put out the flames of conflict, a section of the feuding community which felt worsted in the fight went into nearby schools and slaughtered many kindergarten and primary school toddlers.
Kwankwaso is wrong to mount an ethnic-inspired campaign opposing the relocation of the market. If he had bothered to find out the reasons for the action, he would have seen that it is in the overall interest of the generality of residents in the Lagos metropolis that the market should be relocated to an area where the traders, their goods, customers and innocent bystanders will be safer and more comfortably accommodated.
The Mile 12 Market is ancient, dilapidated, congested and situated in an area that is the primary gateway from other parts of the country into the hub of the Nigerian economy. It is a major cause of traffic snarls.
The Lagos State Government has, over the years, gradually relocated many markets to more convenient sites as part of its urban renewal strategies for a metropolis that has become one of the largest in Africa and the world at large.
Such markets include Balogun, Tejuosho and Alaba. Oshodi Market has just been moved this year and Ladipo Spare-parts market is also marked for relocation. We expect all law-abiding citizens and lovers of good things to cooperate with government to make our cities better for all.
We also call on the Lagos State Government to ensure there is justice and fairness for all, irrespective of where they hail from, in the allocation of shops and general market administration. This is the only way to ensure lasting peace.