By Tayo Joseph Lagos, Nigeria
The Lagos State Government on Friday debunked media reports linking it to the demolition of Berger retail market, saying that the allegation was far from the truth.
In a statement by the Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Tpl. Wasiu Anifowose, the State Government described the media reports as figment of imagination of the authors.
The demolition exercise was carried out on Wednesday and most traders denied being served contravention notices.
While clarifying the position of the State Government, Anifowose said it was not the norm of the government to act in such manner, adding that before any demolition is carried out, all statutory notices are served.
“As a State Government, we like to categorically deny involvement in the demolition exercise as alleged in some national dailies.
“While the reports in one breath claimed that the State Government was responsible for the demolition, it was also said that it was in compliance with a court judgment.
“The same report also alleged that an unnamed former Governor was behind the exercise, while still claiming that the land on which the retail market was located had been under global acquisition for years.
“Our story is that some of the market women came to my office yesterday saying that their market was being demolished, and after finding out from relevant agencies because I have not given any directive on demolition and having confirmed that our agencies were not involved, I told the market people that the demolition never came from us.
“We don’t demolish without organising a stakeholder meeting with the concerned people and we also ensure that we give them enough notice,” Anifowose said.
He added that the last time the State Government carried out a demolition exercise was in January when lay-by was being constructed.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the Lagos State Government hereby categorically deny involvement in the demoilition exercise,” Anifowose said.