‘We’re Not Criminals,’ Inhabitants Of Oko-Oba Say


Traders within and around Abattoir complex, Oko-oba, in the Agege area of Lagos state, have expressed displeasure over the recent demolition of their shanties by officials of the Lagos state Task Force.

Over 500 shanties and illegal structures were demolished last week Saturday.

The Demolition, according Olayinka Egbeyemi, chairman Lagos State Task Force, was prompted due to the nefarious activities of miscreants who allegedly terrorize residents around Agege area, dispossessing them of their valuables such as phones, wallets and jewelry.

This, however, did not go well with traders who sell in the shanties. According to them, activities of the miscreants have affected their means of livelihood.

When Newbreak.ng visited demolished shanties, some miscreants were seen lurking around, while some aggrieved traders were also seen in pensive moods.

Some traders, in their tens, who spoke with our correspndent dissociated themselves from the allegation of criminality, adding that the government should have separated the wheat from the chaff. They lamented that the action has blocked their means of livelihood.

Mohammed Bello, a 55-year-old tinker said, “we are shop owners, we are not all criminals. This is the place we get money to feed our family. We even sleep here at times.”

Bello lamented that the one-week ultimatum given to them by the state Government, to vacate the area was not enough.

Another trader, Taye Dosu, who was formerly selling at Alade Market in Ikeja, who was formerly selling at Alade Market prior to its demolition, also lamented that she has no place to go.

“Now that this place I am managing has been demolished, I don’t know where else to go. If I had money, I will rent a shop for myself,” she said.

The Badagry indigene urged the state government to build an affordable market for genuine traders, whose means of livelihood has been truncated as a result of the demolition exercise.

Investigations by Newsbreak.ng reveals that the Abattoir was largely dominated by the Hausas, most of which are butchers. Some are also in the business of selling ruminants, while others are selling consumables and provisions.

The Abattoir is also a home for hoodlums, some of whom are suspected criminals.

Akeem Akilo, a 27-year-old man with tobacco-stained teeth and bloodshot eyes, told Newsbreak.ng that he is not a criminal.

Akilo, who hails from Abeokuta, Ogun state said he owns a gaming house, which was one of the demolished shacks.

“Some of the criminals they government say come from Abattoir, we don’t even know them. Although there are some petty robbers here but most of them do not reside here,” he said.

“I lost my fridge, snooker board, fan and some other things.”

He said that majority of the people who visit the area come to unwind. According to Akilo, the Government should have provided some security measures that will stop the criminals from using the area as hideout.

In the same vein, Seun Babatunde, 22, who was also affected, said he manages a saloon before the demolition.

“There are some Judas here, tarnishing our image. I lost my dryers, chairs, glass, and my generator.

“If the government can hear us, they should know how to separate hooligans from law abiding citizens. I am a graduate of Tai Solarin University. I began this stylist business because I couldn’t find any job,” he said.





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