As a Kid, the image that pops up in my mind when I think of the city of Oshodi in Lagos state, Nigeria is the large crowd of people that roamed the roads on a daily basis and a particular building where generators and satellite dishes were placed in large numbers on the roofs.
This was the trade mark of Oshodi until Fashola was elected in 2007 and the rowdiness of Oshodi was diminished to a considerable extent and it was indeed regarded as a good development although the road-side sellers had their misgivings about the actions of the Fashola regime but it was for their own good.
If the last time you visited Oshodi was 2004 and you get to Oshodi today, you might be lost in the beauty that is now Oshodi as the difference between the former and the latter Oshodi is enormous.
However, even with the beautification of Oshodi, there were some faults. Some market women were displaced from the road side and their means of living taken away, so as a result, even the Old and aged joined the “unemployed population”
The government was aware of this fact but it failed to give a hoot about what will happen to these people. The government did not even plan to resettle these people or compensate them. Instead, they were told to move to Iyana-paja market or go to Tejuosho market, where the same phenomenon of road side selling still existed, then why did the Government decide to pick on Oshodi?
That question is yet to be answered.
Now, The regime of Akinwumi Ambode was also elected and one of the first major project have seen him do is the demolition of shops not road side markets in Oshodi The first time I saw this, I was close to tears as this in my opinion was very unfair no matter the reason of the Lagos state government.
Here is why I think it’s unfair.
First, it is a known fact that the country is currently undergoing it’s trial period and as a result things are not very easy hitherto. Secondly, the rate of unemployment in Nigeria is currently on the rise and demolishing the shops would only add to this unfortunate statistics. What has Oshodi done to the Lagos state government to deserve this scrutinization? The same question after 8 years still resurfaces. Let me narrate a story of how this recent demolition has affected the lives of some people. Recently I was talking to a market woman who happens to own a house in Oshodi( inherited) and she told me when I asked about the impact of the demolition. She said in Yoruba, “Most of our tenants were affected, so as a result most of them have no choice to seat at home but think of the way forward while some are left depressed” In fact she made mention of a couple who lost their shops in the demolition and as a result they had no choice but to sit at home. Also, she said, as a result of the situation, the children of this couple had to drop out of school because they could no longer pay the school fees as the schools just resumed for third term session. Also, while I was going through Oshodi recently, a man made a comment about the demolition after we saw Kick Against Indiscipline ( KAI) officials drive past with a truck load of motorcycles(Okadas). The man said, After taking the mother’s shop, and you take the father’s bike, how do you expect the family to live? It is a simple but deep question. Am not saying this to condone indiscipline , but one thing is clear, Justice must be tempered with mercy” According to report, some of those displaced have relocated to the Arena military market where they are allowed to use open spaces as shops because the shops in the Arena shopping complex are way too expensive for some of these marketers. The question is what the government is planning to do with the demolished areas of Oshodi. There are various reports and rumours, some have said the government plans to bulding a BRT park, or even an hospital in the center of Oshodi. However, these reports remain flase until verified by the government. Recommendations. There is no power to protest against this policy as some of us are tired and are drained out by the se trial times, we have so much on our plates already.’ So we can only plead with the government and tender our recommendations on what can be done with the demolished areas. . A structure similar to the IOkeja City Malll or Arena . Payment for the use of the places must be based on the “pay small small” scheme .Those displaced should resettle with compensation in cash or in Kind. . Given the fact that the demolition took place in the center of Oshodi, a structure which will generate more revenue through taxes should be placed there while the other places demolished can be used for other projects. This way the government does not increase the unemployment force rather it will manage it.
If you have any recommendation, please drop it in the comments section.