Owners of lock-up shops and stalls at the Ayegbaju International Market in Osogbo have protested what they described as fraudulent deals and breach of the terms of agreement reached with them by the Osun State Government.
The shop owners, who also accused the consultant in charge of the management and disbursement of the shops in the market, said their investments have been tied down with no yield for the past five years.
Ayegbaju International Market was the old Governor’s Office used from the creation of Osun State in 1991 until 1999, when the construction of new the State Secretariat began.
But about five years ago, the government of Mr Rauf Aregbesola conceptualized the idea of turning the place into an international market to serve as the commercial hub in the Southwest geopolitical zone.
Buying into the dream, some traders applied for the shops, immediately making payments ranging from 350 thousand and 2.5 million Naira for lock- up shops and open stalls in the market, as stated by a trader, Mr Shidipo Adebayo.
Carrying placards with different inscriptions, the shop owners alleged with relevant documents, that the government consultant developing the shop at initial stage made them pay for outright purchase only to later turn around to reduce it to 28 years.
While calling attention of relevant stakeholders to their plight, Mr Taofeek Azeez, one of the leaders of the shop owners also complained on the absence of basic necessities promised them before payment for the shops, besides very low sales, destruction of products and materials for sale in the market.
Another shop owner, Mrs Deborah Lawal said some people were not even given shops despite paying.
Arriving at the market, Chairman, Osun State Investment Company Limited, Mr Bola Oyebanji in a meeting with the traders solicited their patience, promising that the government would look into the matter and make necessary amends.
Mr Oyebamiji said the state government meant well for the people before embarking on such project , assuring them that no one would be short-changed.