The stakeholders of the 13 markets within the Lagos International Trade Fair Complex on Wednesday urged the Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE) to respect the existing lease agreement on the complex.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos reports that the traders on March 18 embarked on a protest to press home their demand for the BPE to comply with the agreement on the concession.
The Spokesman for the group and President of Balogun Business Association (BBA), Mr Tony Obi, said that there was an existing lease agreement between the Federal Government and the traders.
Obi told NAN that the traders leased the place from the Federal Government for a period of 50 years and still up to 26 years for it to lapse.
According to him the case has been lodged in court, but the government is yet to respond filing its position for the proceeding to begin.
He said that the protest on Monday was to raise awareness on the secret plan of BPE to concession the place in disregard to court’s proceeding.
“This whole place was open without facilities; it is the traders that have so far committed about N70 billion to make the place what it is today. So for anybody or agency to come now and displace the traders will be resisted.
“We have 180 thousand persons earning living from these markets and the government is talking of employment creation you can imagine how many that will lose jobs if such concession plan is allowed to work.
“We are not against government concession plan, but they should go and concession those areas in the complex that are yet to be developed,” he said.
Obi said that a protest letter had been presented to the Executive Director of the complex, Mrs Lucy Ajayi, for onward presentation to the Federal Government.
Mr Mela Audu-Nunghe, the Chairman, Lagos Trade Fair Management Board, in an interview with NAN said that the protest letter was yet to get to him.
According to Audu-Nunghe, the protest is unnecessary for because I am aware the traders have gone to court against the concession process of the complex by the BPE.
“I do not see any basis for the protest having lodged their grievances in the court of law.
“They cannot embark on a political means to obtain a legal redress of their problem.
“Though I commend them for the maturity they conducted the protest as it was peaceful nevertheless the protest was unnecessary,” he said.
He urged the traders to allow the law to take its course on the matter. (NAN)