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Lagos Threatens to Shut Down Oke-Odo Market

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Lagos Threatens to Shut Down Oke-Odo Market

Lagos Threatens to Shut Down Oke-Odo Market

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

Traders at the popular Oko-Odo market, also known as Ile-Epo market, have been given one week to put an end to illegal activities perpetrated at the market or risk being shut down indefinitely by the Lagos State government.

This warning came yesterday when leaders of Agbado Oke-Odo Market held meeting at the Lagos House in Ikeja with the state government.

Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Mr Tunji Bello, who represented Governor Akinwunmi Ambode at the meeting, lamented that traders at the market were in the habit of displaying their wares on the road for sale beyond the confines of the market, thereby causing traffic gridlock and other environmental nuisance.

He said their activities had reached a level which the state government could no longer condone, hence the need for a final warning.

He said aside causing avoidable and needless traffic, the traders were also in the habit of dumping their refuse on the road, thereby causing environmental and health hazards.

“This is just to come and deliberate on the Agbado Oke-Odo Market because of the situation there. The market has become a stumbling block particularly to those using the road.

“The traders have blocked the Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway to the extent that even the contractors working there don’t have place to work because they have taken over the area.

“They cause a lot of traffic gridlock and people coming from Ota or from Abule Egba don’t have the road to connect other areas of the State.

“We have warned them consistently but we are yet to get any result. That is why we have summoned today’s meeting,” Mr Bello said.

“The meeting is basically to call them to order and give them the last warning. The idea initially was to shut down the market today but the Governor decided that we should give them just one week to put things in order,” he added.

He said in as much as government was not interested in shutting down markets, but it would have no choice than to wield the big stick if traders continue constituting themselves as menace to other road users.

“What we are saying is that the government is not interested in shutting down any market because of the economic implication on the people who have to survive and live.

“As a government, we are not interested in shutting down business enterprises and all that, but if it is constituting menace and inconveniencing other people, we will have no choice than to wield the big stick, and that is why we are giving the market leaders the last warning to go and re-order their market.

“The leaders of the market must sit up and look at how to help government because we cannot say because we are trading, we should inconvenience people who go to work from Abule Egba to Lagos Island for instance and to other places and they have to spend hours on that road just because of the activities of the traders.

“Apart from that, we have a lot of filth on the road because the market people just dump their refuse on the road. We don’t want that anymore and that is why we are giving this last warning.

“We don’t want anybody on the road again and whatever we have to do internally as a government, we will not hesitate to do. We will send Task Force and the men of the Kick Against Indiscipline (KAI) to the place to ensure sanity.

“This warning to Agbado Oke-Odo traders also applies to other markets in the State. Any market where their traders are blocking the road and constituting menace to others will be shut down till further notice,” Mr Bello threatened.

Responding on behalf of others, the Babaloja Araromi Agbado Oke-Odo, Mr Mukaila Oyinlola, said as market leaders, they had warned the traders who were in the habit of selling on the road to desist, but their warnings had fallen on deaf ears, adding that the resolve of government was a welcome development.

Also, Iyaloja Araromi Oke-Odo Market, Mrs Dupe Shonola and Babaloja General of Agbado Oke-Odo Market, Mr Abiodun Kosoko, urged government to make examples of the perpetrators of the illegal act, but called for expansion and modernization of the market.

Modupe Gbadeyanka is a fast-rising journalist with Business Post Nigeria. Her passion for journalism is amazing. She is willing to learn more with a view to becoming one of the best pen-pushers in Nigeria. Her role models are the duo of CNN's Richard Quest and Christiane Amanpour.

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Economy

Oil Prices Mixed Amid Weakening US Dollar

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Crude Oil Prices

By Adedapo Adesanya

Oil prices were mixed on Tuesday despite drawing support from a weakening US Dollar, with Brent futures contract down by 37 cents to $84.53 per barrel and the US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude up by 92 cents or 1.2 per cent to $78.82 a barrel.

The US Dollar index turned negative after data showed labour costs increased at their slowest pace in a year in the fourth quarter. This occurred as wage growth slowed, bolstering expectations of the US Federal Reserve slowing its interest rate increases.

Investors expect the Fed to raise rates by 25 basis points on Wednesday, with increases of half a percentage point by the Bank of England and European Central Bank the following day.

The rate increase expected at the Federal Open Market Committee’s January 31- February 1 meeting would bring the policy rate to the 4.5 per cent – 4.75 per cent range; that’s two quarter-point rate hikes short of the level most Fed policymakers in December thought would be sufficiently restrictive to bring inflation under control.

Economists at UBS expect the US Dollar to travel along a weaker path, with limited and short-lived bouts of strength.

“The Fed is getting closer to the end of its rate-hiking cycle. With markets growing comfortable with a terminal fed funds rate close to or at 5 per cent, and US inflation likely to quickly roll over in the first half of this year, downward pressure on the USD should continue to mount,” they said in a note.

The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) panel will likely recommend keeping the group’s output policy unchanged when it meets at 2 pm (Nigerian time) on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, a Reuters survey showed 49 economists and analysts expect Brent crude to average more than $90 a barrel this year, the first upward revision since October, with gains likely driven by demand from the world’s second top consumer, China.

China has been easing stringent COVID-19 restrictions this month, with the country reopening borders for the first time in three years.

Analysts noted that China’s reopening is supporting demand prospects for oil.

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Economy

Economy in Danger, Nigerians Suffering—Lagos Assembly

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Lagos Assembly economy in danger1

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

The Lagos State House of Assembly has accused the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) of compounding the woes of Nigerians through the Naira redesign policy, which it said has also put the economy in danger.

Speaking through its Speaker, Mr Mudashiru Obasa, the Lagos Assembly commended the National Assembly for putting pressure on the Governor of the CBN, Mr Godwin Emefiele, to ensure that Nigerians would still be able to take their old currency notes to the banks after the current deadline of February 10, 2023.

At the plenary on Tuesday, legislators in the state parliament noted that even though the policy was a good one, its timing was wrong as it had further thrown the country into economic chaos, which could become difficult to resolve if urgent steps are not taken.

Mr Obasa noted that the concern of the lawmakers had to do with the pains, anguish and anger spreading among Nigerians over their inability to access the new currency.

“Economists have said most times you cannot use new currency to control inflation, it doesn’t achieve the purpose most times,” Mr Obasa said, adding that the intention of the policy, as claimed by CBN, had been defeated owing to the various complaints from experts and people across the country.

The Speaker said the CBN should have engaged stakeholders while citizens should have been adequately carried along rather than an ‘overnight’ policy by the apex bank.

“There are people in the rural areas. It is obvious that the additional 10 days are not even going to be enough.

“The idea is a good one, but the way it is being implemented will have an adverse effect on the people.

“We need to commend the National Assembly for showing quality representation and prompt action to intervene for an extension of the deadline,” he noted.

The Speaker said that in other countries, old currencies are not discarded in a rush but allowed to fade out of the system gradually.

Mr Rotimi Olowo, the lawmaker representing Somolu Constituency 1, who moved the motion, sought an extension of the deadline till July 2023 in line with the resolution of the National Assembly while noting the suffering the policy had brought on Nigerians.

He complained about the unavailability of the new notes and the effect on the people, including small business owners and those in rural areas.

Contributing to the motion, the chairman of the House Committee on Public Account, Mr Saka Solaja, argued that financial policies are not implemented the way the CBN had gone about the Naira redesign.

“We see videos of people beating themselves mercilessly at ATMs, yet there is no money,” he lamented while supporting the call for an extension of the deadline by the CBN.

On his part, Mr Richard Kasunmu argued that the timing of the policy was not right, especially as the country was still grappling with challenges of effective internet connectivity.

He recalled how he spent five hours a day earlier trying to make an electronic transfer of N55,000 to resolve an emergency situation.

“We should be looking at the larger Nigerian people. If we want to survive the Nigerian economy, this should not be a good time for such policy,” he said.

On his part, Mr Victor Akande stressed that Mr Emefiele breached a part of the CBN Act concerning the policy, while his colleague, Mr Setonji David, noted that, “All over the world, CBN governors are economists, not bankers like Emefiele.

“Our people are suffering, and the money can’t be found at the ATMs. If you go to the ATMs, you would see how people are struggling,” he lamented.

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Economy

Emefiele Says Banks Will Accept Old Naira Notes After Deadline

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Emefiele appears before Reps

By Dipo Olowookere

The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele, has confirmed that Nigerians who could not deposit their old Naira notes before the deadline would not lose their funds.

Speaking on Tuesday when he appeared before an ad-hoc committee of the House of Representatives chaired by Mr Alhassan Ado Doguwa, he said banks will continue to accept the old N200, N500, and N1,000 notes after February 10, 2023.

Nigerians were earlier given till Tuesday, January 31, 2023, to swap their old currency notes for the newly redesigned banknotes.

But after much pressure, the CBN obtained approval from President Muhammadu Buhari to shift the deadline forward by 10 days.

Last week, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, threatened to sign a warrant of arrest on Mr Emefiele over his refusal to appear before the lower chamber of the parliament to explain the policy to lawmakers.

On Monday night, while speaking on a television programme monitored by Business Post, Mr Doguwa said the House would expect the CBN chief to appear today or risk being arrested by the police.

This morning, he was at the National Assembly to face the lawmakers, and during his speech, he said banks would continue to accept the old notes after the deadline in line with section 20, subsection 3 of the CBN Act, which says even after the old currency has lost its legal tender status, the bank is mandated to collect those monies.

“In agreement with the House of Representatives resolution and subject to section 20, subsection 3, which says even after the old currency has lost its legal tender status, that we are mandated to collect those monies. I stand with the House of Representatives on this.

“What does that mean? It means if you have monies you are unable to deposit to your bank after the expiration, we certainly will give you the opportunity to bring them back into the CBN, we redeem it and pay it into your bank account, or we exchange it. In that case, you do not lose your money.

“I want to appeal to you, this is not an easy exercise, but we are happy that in 19 years, we are able to carry out this important part of our mandate. We are grateful that we are doing it. We want the support of all Nigerians,” Mr Emefiele said.

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