THE Mile 12 traders’ association, on Wednesday, appealed to the Lagos State Government not to relocate the market to Agbowa on the old Ikorodu-Ijebu road.
The association’s chairman, Alhaji Haruna Mohammed, told newsmen that the appeal became necessary because of the market’s importance to Lagos and West African sub-region.
Mohammed debunked the allegation that trading activities in the market impede vehicular movement on the Mile 12-Ikorodu road, saying: “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 hold-up is everywhere.”
The Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Mr. Toyin Ayinde, had said at a stakeholders’ forum that the foodstuff market would soon be relocated. He disclosed that the relocation was part of government’s plan to make Lagos a mega city and make a way for smooth-movement of traffic along the Ikorodu- Mile 12 axis.
But Mohammed claimed that at no time was the market responsible for traffic congestion in the area. He listed the causes of the gridlock that often occur on the road to urbanization, ever increasing number of vehicles, pedestrians crossing the highway instead of using the pedestrian bridge and refusal of the commercial bus drivers to adhere to traffic rules.
According to him, though the association is yet to receive a notice of relocation, the market’s traders’ association has engaged 100 quasi-traffic men to assist government officials in controlling traffic. “The major challenge on this route is the commercial bus drivers that always stop and pick passengers or drop passengers arbitrarily. When the traffic officials caution them against such act, they disobey and fight,’’ he said.
The Mile 12 Market, situated at the Ikosi/Isheri Local Council Development Area, is reputed to be the largest perishable foodstuff market in West Africa. The movement of many traders out of Iddo Market in the Mainland Local Government Area due to congestion in the 70s led to the establishment of the Mile 12 Market.
The Market is reputed for selling assorted fruits like orange, banana, cucumber, pineapple, garden egg, watermelon, pawpaw and foodstuffs in bulk to retailers who throng there to procure agricultural produce to retail to consumers all over Lagos.
Truckloads of raw foodstuffs hauled from every nook and crannies in the country are daily brought to the place to be resold to traders in Lagos and beyond.
Mr. Femi Odusanya, the association’s Public Relations Officer, said eradicating lawlessness among commercial bus drivers and a proactive traffic enforcement agency would eliminate the gridlock in the area.
He said 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.