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Traders at the Sabo Market area of Sagamu in Ogun state have threatened to vote against the second term ambition of Governor Dapo Abiodun if he did not yield to their demands on the reconstruction and allocation of shops at the market.
The traders protested shortage of shops following the reconstruction of the razed market by governor Abiodun.
The traders in their hundreds embarked on a peaceful protest from the market to the Akarigbo palace to express displeasure over shortage of shops.
The popular Sabo market was razed down on January 28, 2020, leaving properties worth millions of naira destroyed.
After the inferno, the state government reconstructed only 188 out of over 3,000 shops.
The traders who stormed the streets of Sagamu were singing solidarity songs, causing traffic gridlock for hours, on the popular Akarigbo street.
They were armed with placards with various inscriptions which include; “Save Our Souls” “Our members are dying”, “Save us from this harsh weather”, “Mr Governor, why demolish our market when you are not ready to rebuild,” “In January you promised to REBUILD our Market in 3 months. It is now October” among others.
The traders mostly women said over 3,000 open stores and lock up shops were destroyed by the inferno.
The traders lamented that the shortage of shops may plunge the market into crisis.
Speaking at the protest, the Secretary of Sabo Market, Abdulrahaman Ojuolape said the traders were not satisfied with the reconstruction, saying “we are in dilemma on how to allocate 188 shops to over 3,000 beneficiaries.
Ojuolape threatened that the traders will vote against the second term ambition or Governor Abiodun if nothing is done to yield to their demands.
He added,”By this time next year, they will be doing campaign, we want him to come and do this for us as early as possible because he is looking for second term.
“We are the electorates and we are the one putting them there, it is not by their power. If they say they are not doing it for us, we are changing our mind.”
Another trader at the market, Mrs Kemi Ogunowo said there is need for the government to ensure all shops demolished are reconstructed to give all traders sense of belonging.
Ogunowo lamented that the 188 shops reconstructed out of 3,000 are “grossly inadequate.”
She said “The government has only reconstructed 188 shops, while we lost more than 3,000 shops to the inferno.
“If they should allocate the 188 shops, a number of traders would be shortchanged and that could lead to crisis.
“We are begging out governor to help rebuild the remaining shops before it is too late.”
In his response, the Local Government chairman of Sagamu, Afolabi Odulate said forms will be out on Monday for the allocation of the shops and stalls.
Odulate assured that the reconstructed stalls and shops will be allocated to only traders at the market.
He however revealed that plans are underway by the Local Government to continue the reconstruction of the market so as to accommodate more traders.
He noted, “There is a process to everything and I have been trying to explain things to them.
“No one is going to take the shops away from them, it belongs to them. Once, they paid for it, it belong to them; we are not giving out to people who doesn’t have shop in the market.
“We know it is not enough, I personally took it upon myself to go to Abeokuta to speak with the commissioner that they should release it to Local Government to do the completion of the rest and they agreed. We are packaging our proposal which I will take to Abeokuta on Monday.”