Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State on Tuesday said that traders in the popular Mile 12 Market would be relocated to the new market site in Imota in the next six months.
The governor, who inspected the new site proposed for the market, assured that work would commence there in the next seven days to realise the objective.
Ambode, who was accompanied on the inspection visit by top officials of the Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development and members of the State Executive Council (SEC), said the relocation of the market became necessary following the recent clash in the area, just as he directed the ministry to move to site and commence work on the market immediately.
There was a major crisis at the present location of the Mile 12 Market recently, leading to bloody clashes between motorcyclists popularly known as ‘okada’ riders and traders in the market.
The governor then closed the market and restricted movement in the areas temporarily to allow tempers to cool.
He, however, reopened the market, banning commercial motorcyclists within the area, while he also announced that the popular market would be moved to another location.
Ambode, during the Tuesday inspection, expressed optimism that the relocation would drive commerce and investment into the Imota area, urging residents to gear up to receive the vast number of visitors that will visit the market.
“We are all aware that we had a little crisis at Mile 12 Market in Ketu recently and here is the new site that we are relocating Mile 12 Market to.
“So, our new commodities market would take off from here and so I like to give the Ministry of Physical Planning the directive to commence activities here within the next one week.
“We believe that if we start within the next seven days, within the next six months, Mile 12 Market Ketu will be a thing of the past.
“We are committed to doing this. We know it is in the interest of all Lagosians that we relocate Mile 12 Market. The marketers themselves have agreed; the onus is now on us to ensure that we deliver this new market within the next six months.
“I want to appeal to people in Imota that you will be having new set of investors; new set of traders and then new set of tenants. You should be very accommodating because we are bringing a whole lot here,” he said.
Ambode also assured residents that the government would consider the possible expansion of the road network around the market and connecting the Ikorodu and Epe area, saying the relocation of the Mile 12 Market as well as the Oko Baba Sawmill Market to the axis would have multiplier effect on the Lagos economy.
According to him, “We are on our way to Agbowa now. We intend to relocate Oko Baba Market in Ebutte Metta to Agbowa and so this axis will be a big axis for commerce, for employment and then for prosperity and that is what we want for the rest of Lagos.”
Ambode, who also visited the Imota Rice Processing Factory in Ikorodu Division, assured that the facility would be overhauled and be up and running within the next six months.
He said the intention of his administration was to intervene and upgrade the facility to a standard that would achieve a 10,000 metric tons per hour production of rice and also invite private investors to complement the intervention with an additional 10,000 metric tons per hour.
“That is the only way we can be clearly said to have intervened seriously and that is the only platform we can use to allow the inflow of rice paddy from Kebbi State.
“You will all recall that we just signed an MoU with Kebbi State and the intention is that we want a consistent flow of raw materials to come so that the era of importing rice from abroad would become a thing of the past,” he added.
He said besides Kebbi State, Lagos was also looking at possible partnership with other states, saying that on the long run, such collaboration would ensure that residents can consume locally processed rice within the next six months.
The governor said that a process to make the mill private sector driven will commence immediately, adding that a vibrant infrastructure that will attract the best professionals and experts to manage the facility would be put in place.
“This is a major investment and we cannot allow it to rot away. So in the next three to six months, when we come back here, we must be eating Eko Rice,” he said.
The governor, who also visited the new site for the relocation of the Oko Baba Sawmill Market, commended the contractor for the work done so far, assuring that project would be delivered before the end of September 2016.
He said the project would ensure that the Ebute Metta – Third Mainland Bridge loop, currently an eyesore, would be cleaned up, saying that the traders were excited and looking forward to moving to the new site.
“There is no form of resentment from the traders; they are excited about this place. I am assured that before the end of September, we would have commenced operation in this place. I must commend the ministry officials also that we should remain steadfast so that this project becomes a reality before the end of September,” he said.
Nurudeen Saka-Solaja, the lawmaker representing Ikorodu Constituency II at the Lagos State House of Assembly, expressed gratitude to Ambode for the proposed relocation of the Mile 12 Market to Imota, just as he urged the government to commence the project in earnest.
Oba Adeniyi Agoro, the Ranodu of Imota, thanked Ambode for considering the area for such laudable projects, assuring that the residents would co-operate with the government to ensure the success of the projects.