The governor, state of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has appealed to the traders in Aiyegbaju International Market to embrace a peaceful resolution of their grievances, instead of taking to the streets.
The governor’s appeal was conveyed through his Chief Press Secretary (CPS), Mr. Semiu Okanlawon. This came on the heels of the protests organised by the traders last week, when they accused the government of breaching the agreements with them over the operation and ownerships of the market.
The traders alleged that despite the huge amounts they paid to acquire the shops, the market lacked necessary infrastructure such as electricity, water and others, almost two years after the reconstruction.
They also alleged that the state government had reneged on the original agreement of ownership of the shops for 99 years, saying: “The government suddenly changed the tenure of ownership from 99 years to 28 years.”
Okanlawon said government had taken cognisance of their grievances and would look into the issue but they should go through the right channels instead of taking to the streets.He said the matter was not beyond peaceful resolution if properly addressed.
Meanwhile, some traditional rulers in the state have expressed concern over the tactics some politicians are deploying to achieve their ambition ahead of the next governorship elections scheduled for August 2018.
The monarchs, who for now preferred to remain neutral but not silent on the development, urged the traders to beware of undue influence by desperate politicians, who were out to disrupt the peace in Osun.
However, a reliable source from the state described the protest as a deliberate attempt to embarrass the government and it no doubt has political undertone.
Supporting his skepticism about the protest, which he said was sponsored, the source produced the Certificate of Statutory Right of Occupancy signed on June 1, 2012, number 42 at page 42 in volume 202 of the Land Registry in the office at Oshogbo, Osun State, saying: “What was stated in the document was 30 years from the date of presentation out of which two was used for construction, leaving 28 for ownership instead of the 99 as claimed by the traders.”
He also contested the allegation of lack of necessary facilities claimed by the traders, saying: “It is the onus of the traders to prove whether they (traders) have complied with the payment of services charges as stipulated in the deeds of agreement.”
While he appealed to them for a peaceful resolution, the source dismissed the allegation that government reneged on its agreement with the traders.