The demolition was carried out at about 1am by officials of the Lagos State Environmental and Special Offences (Enforcement) Unit. The officials, who reportedly came with three bulldozers, were said to have earlier issued a two-week ultimatum to the traders to park their goods and leave the area.
However, some traders who spoke with newsmen claimed that they were given only four days.
One of the traders, who gave his name as Ike Uzor, said: “The officials started the process on Saturday at about 9pm. They arrested the market chairman and shot teargas canisters at the traders. That was four days ago. So, why are they claiming they gave us two weeks to pack?
“I just returned from the South-East after the Christmas and New Year celebration. We have goods in these shops worth millions of naira. The officials came in the night and destroyed our goods with bulldozers.
“They said they wanted to use the place for a Bus Rapid Transit park. But we have hundreds of shops in this place, and they did not allow us to move our goods. We did not pick anything from the rubble.”
Another trader, Bayo Akande, said, “My father had two shops. I was born and I grew up in this area. There is no harm if the government wants to use the land because it is a public property. But why should they demolish our goods with the shops? This is wickedness. We did not vote for this change.
“I have also been doing business here for about 15 years. I came this morning to meet the place demolished. Where do I start from?”
The state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Steve Ayorinde, said the need to transform and beautify the Oshodi area prompted the demolition. “The Owonifari area will be transformed into an ultra modern bus terminal with new bus shelters that are befitting of a structured park in a mega city,”
It was reported that Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, was at the market yesterday accompanied by the Commissioner for the Environment, Dr Babatunde Adejare.