Traders at the Oriyanrin Market, which was earlier razed down by fire have asked the Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo -Olu, to disregard allegations leveled against them, saying they never bribed officials at state house Alausa to stop them from doing their job.
According to the market leader, Rukayat Balogun, who spoke on behalf of the traders, although the state government officials have been sent to inspect the market, it was confirmed that only two shops were affected by the fire.
During the investigation, traders were asked to vacate the premises for seven days so as to allow government officials inspect the level of damage done by the fire incident and to know how to further prevent future occurrence.
According to Balogun, while recalling that some parts of the popular Balogun Market, located on Lagos Island, were recently gutted by fire where goods worth millions of naira were destroyed, which eventually led to the closure of the market, it was disheartening to hear allegations that traders who could barely make ends meet were accused of offering bribe to government officials with huge sums of money, “It is disheartening to hear that some of us have been bribing government officials. Where do they expect us to get that kind of money? How do they expect us to raise that money? Most of us here are the bread-winners of our various families, so where do we get that money from?
“Their motive is to blackmail us, so as to provoke the state officials to take a decision that would be counter-productive, or close down our shops. But we are aware of their tactics, their stock in trade is to foment trouble, but as law abiding citizens and traders, we would never do such act of corruption.”, she said, adding that “We want to appeal to the governor and the state officials to disregard the false information. It is meant to blackmail us, and drag the name of officials of government involved in the mud, we are not party to it.”
She however lamented the extent of damage done to their businesses as well as the possible effects of false information on the psyche of the traders in the market.