The association’s Chairman, Alhaji Haruna Mohammed, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that the appeal became necessary because of the market’s importance to the West African region.
Mohammed debunked the allegation that trading activities in the market impeded vehicular movement on the Mile 12-Ikorodu road route.
“Traffic is everywhere in Lagos. It is a known challenge that is facing the city and the location of the market should not be blamed for this. Traffic is everywhere,’’ he said.
The Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Mr Toyin Ayinde, had said at a stakeholders’ forum that the popular Mile 12 foodstuff market would soon be relocated.
Ayinde said the relocation was part of government’s plan to make Lagos a mega city and make way for free-flow of traffic along the Ikorodu- Mile 12 axis.
Mohammed claimed that at no time was the market responsible for traffic congestion in the area.
He listed the causes gridlock to large population, high number of private cars, pedestrians crossing highways instead of using the pedestrian bridge and refusal of commercial drivers to adhere to traffic rules.
He said that though the association had yet to receive notice of relocation, the market employed 100 quasi-traffic men to assist government officials in controlling traffic.
“The major challenge on this route is the commercial bus drivers.
“They stop, pick and drop passengers arbitrarily, when the traffic officials caution them against such act, they disobey and fight,’’ he said.
Mr Femi Odusanya, the association’s Public Relations Officer, said that eradicating lawlessness among commercial bus drivers and a proactive traffic enforcement agency would eliminate gridlock in the metropolis.
He said:P “The business influence of the market spans beyond the border of Nigeria. Traders from all parts of West Africa come to Mile 12 to buy foodstuff.
“Relocating the market to Agbowa as being speculated will mean gradual wiping out of the market out of existence’’.
Alhaji Esekhaigbe Bello, a trader at the market since 1985, said that relocating the market would not solve traffic congestion on the route.
“I have been in this market since 1985.
“I could remember that there was a time when the commercial bus drivers were forced to enter the market’s garage to pick and drop passengers without obstructing traffic flow.
“I urge the government to revisit that procedure because it worked then,’’ he said
NAN reports that the Mile 12 Market, situate at the Ikosi/Isheri Local Council Development area is reputed to be the largest perishable foodstuff market in West Africa.
Majority of traders moved out of Iddo Market in Mainland Local Government Area due to congestion, to found the Mile 12 Market in the 1970s. (NAN)