Traders who occupied 43 Martins Street, Balogun Market on Lagos Island are still counting their losses and have taken to the streets to protested the sealing of some buildings near the plaza by the Lagos State Government.
The sealed papers pasted on the buildings with a cordoned tape read: “Lagos State Safety Commission Sealed. This premises has been sealed following the violation of the safety law. This seal must not be broken or removed. For further enquiries, contact the commission at the Safety Commission House, Alausa.”
Some of the buildings were affected by the Tuesday fire on popular building in Balogun market and have been sealed by the government to carryout integrity teston them. While some of the traders have shops in those sealed buildings, they have decribed the action of the government as unfair and insensitive.
The burnt Brasas Plaza had collapsed and government agencies were demolishing the remaining part still standing and had started evacuating the materials in the rubble.
“Having lost millions of naira to the fire, the sealing of my shops in the other building is like adding more to my pains,”a trader simply identified himself as John said.
“How do the government expect me to move on? I have a lot of responsibilities and to offset my debts. This action would only aggravate my situation,” he said.
Another trader, Emeka described Lagos state government’s action as “unfair.”
What do I do now? Where do I run to? I lost over N4 million worth goods here,” he said.
Another trader who deals with school bags told The Nation that over 300,000 of the bags were burnt.
“All my goods of over 300,000 pieces got burnt. They are school bags. For one, it’s between N3,500 and N4,500. This is too much,” he said.
Acting Chairman of the United Lagos Island Men and Women Business Association, Augustine Omenyi said no fewer than 5,000traders were affected.
Omenyi said: “Look at the burnt clothes over here and some other properties as well. Our people lost a lot of things here. The traders in those buildings are over 5,000.
“People are suffering every day in this country. The government should come to our aid,” he said.
It was learnt that the sealed buildings may be demolished if they failed integrity test.
Acting General Manager Lagos State Materials Testing Laboratory Olalekan Ajani said the test would be conducted after the clearing of the rubbles.
“The burnt building is already down. Nothing to do on that, but the other buildings beside it need to be tested and confirm their structural integrity and if we see that the structural integrity isimpaired, it needs to be removed,” Ajani said.
He said the test would be carried out as soon as the environment is conducive.
“You can see that they are still clearing the rubbles. My boys were here yesterday with the hope that they’ll be able to do something but unfortunately, they couldn’t. That’s why I decided to come today to be able to see whether we can quickly come in and do it. If the test sare negative, Government is government, the needful will be done because what’s important is the safety of lives and properties,” Ajani said.