Oyo govt locks up over 200 shops over N62,000 rent

More than 200 lock up shops at Scout Camp market, Ibadan have so far been padlocked by the Oyo state government over the failure of 371 shops’ owners to pay their annual rent and service charge amounting to N62, 000.

The exercise carried out by officials of the Oyo state Ministry of Trade, Investment and Cooperatives, last Friday, followed the expiration of the ultimatum for payment of the charge on December 5, 2017 and another notice pasted around the complex asking shop occupants to pay or quit by December 18, 2017.

The back and forth between the state government and Scout Camp traders had been over rent with the government asking for N62,000, made up of N50,000 as rent and N12,000 as service charge while the traders have asked to pay N36,000 covering N24,000 as rent and N12,000 as service charge.

The quit notice signed by the Commissioner, Ministry of Trade, Investment and Cooperatives, Mrs Taibat Adeyemi-Agaba had pointed to payment of dues by a negligible number of occupants, with 13 out of the 384 lock up having paid.

Adeyemi-Agaba said the government was compelled to carry out the action owing to the failure of the occupants to either pay their rent or leave after occupying the complex for over four years.

While stating that the government arrived at the charge after series of meetings with the traders, she said it was high time the occupants paid or leave for others willing to pay to occupy the shops.

“We have heard their several pleas and have reduced it drastically. For that area, they are asked to pay N50,000 a year when we originally supposed to be N60,000.”

“They haven’t paid for over four years. And the place is being maintained without them paying a dime. I think it is only fair that we empower people to take personal responsibility. There are no free lunches.”

“We keep saying the government has not raised enough Internally Generated Revenue, this is part of why there is no money. I think it is unfair for them to just not pay. They refuse to pay and refuse to leave.”

“So, if they are using the place just for storage, there are people who are waiting to be allotted the spaces at the market. There are several people in that complex with three shops and they are the ones hindering that progress we desire.”

“But if they have not been making money from being at Scout Camp, they would not remain at the place. You would not be where you are not benefiting at all from.”

“They have not paid in five years and it is not fair to the government and the people. The people are the ones suffering. We have had several meetings with them. What will happen is that is that they either pay or chose not to pay and we give it to people who are really ready to pay,” Adeyemi-Agaba said.

On the position by the Scout camp traders that street traders continued to deprive them of business, Adeyemi-Agaba said the state government would continue to educate and chase away the street traders.

“We have been chasing away the street traders. We are trying to get people off the street, we need to educate them about safety and it is an ongoing progress. But that does not eliminate people from taking personal responsibility for their actions. They need to pay,” Adeyemi-Agaba said.

Commenting on the development, Secretary of the traders’ association, Mr Olayiwola Shuaib has decried the decision of the state government to lock up their shops noting that goods were getting spoilt in the shops.

He maintained that the charge was high noting that it would be difficult for street traders to move into the market because they may not be able to pay the N62,000 annual rent.

Shuaib pointed out some shop owners were already leaving the complex while some others may be compelled to leave the complex next year.

He pointed out that the state government had also given two weeks ultimatum to occupants of open stalls to each pay N32, 000.

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