Scores of shop and stall owners at the Ayegbaju International market on Wednesday staged a peaceful protest to condemn what they termed ” breach of contract” on the part of Osun government.
According to the traders, the government at the initial stage of the agreement had offered an outright ownership of the lock up shops, for the duration of 99 years, which was later repudiated and reduced to 28 years thereafter.
They carried different placards with inscriptions, indicating their displeasure over the alleged breach of contract and the need to see Governor Aregbesola and not a third party.
They were, however, prevented from moving out of the market by the a heavy security personnel.
Chanting arrays of solidarity songs, the market men and women rued the absence of electricity in the “International Market” for over 2 years, as they claimed that all the necessary facilities the consultancy firm in charge of the market and the government promised were not met.
A shop owner, Taofeek Azeez explained that the shop owners in the market were not happy with the manner the state government is dealing with them, with regards to repudiation of agreement without consideration.
Taofeek claimed that owners of lock up shops paid as much as N2.5 million while those at the open market paid as much as N350, 000, without electricity and water.
He added that traders at the market were determined to fight for their rights until justice is done, and the seeming anomaly corrected.
“We are so disappointed with what is happening in this market, the initial agreement we had with the government was an outright ownership of 99 years; to our utmost surprise, they handed documents indicating 28 years of ownership to us, despite the huge amounts we have paid.
” We paid for the shops out of the trust we had in the government, they have promised us at the initial stage of the agreement that they were in charge, just for us to be approached by one Edward Management as the consultant in charge,” he resorted.
In the same vein, Mr Tunde Lawal, a retiree, recounted his travails, saying he has invested the chunkof his gratuities in the market since 2012, by buying two lock up shops, hoping to start a rewarding business, but all that hopes have been dashed with the developments at the market.
” I thought the market would take off immediately with the way government presented it to us, by the time i invested in the market, it was on level ground, and from that time till now, nothing has come out of commitment, I have nothing to eat”.
He appealed to the government to look critically into their conditions and do the needful before things get out of hand.
Also, a stall owner, Awojide Olabisi, frayed the government for reneging on its promise, and ” treating traders with disdain” as she complained of the market being defaced by roadside traders.
Olabisi said the double standard of the government, in connivance with the consultant is unacceptable.
She complained about the perimeter fence round the market, which according to her has isolated the, “International Market,” with attendant low patronage.
Meanwhile, the MD/CEO of Osun State Investment Company, Mr Bola Oyebamiji, who was on ground to calm the protesters told journalists that the government was ready to look into the plights of the shop owners.
” This is actually a town hall meeting, we have the mandate of the Governor to listen to them and resolve all anomalies amicably, and we are going to do so very soon.
“The problem is between the development and shop owners, the government is not involved per se, however, this is our environment, it is the duty of the government to maintain peace, that is why the governor insisted that we should resolve it amicably,” he said.