Officials of the Lagos State Government, accompanied by heavily armed police officers, on Wednesday demolished at least 18 shops located at the Ikeja New Garage near the popular Computer Village in Ikeja.
A shop owner who did not want to be named told PREMIUM TIMES they were informed that Governor Akinwunmi Ambode intends to use the space for a BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) workshop.
The trader, who lost his two shops to the demolition, said they received eviction notices from the government four days ago.
“Sometime last month, officials of the Lagos State Government came here and took photos of us and left for Alausa, Ikeja. They said the government will compensate us because they want to make use of the garage as the workshop of the BRT buses in Lagos State,” he said.
“We came here on Saturday and saw notices informing shop owners to evacuate the shops within 72 hours; and today around 8’o clock, officials of the Lagos State Government came here with these police men that are armed and started telling us to park our goods out of the shops.” the victim said.
“I have two shops here where I sell phones and accessories, and as you can see my goods are scattered everywhere. I don’t know where to go from here, I have children and this is happening now. It’s just unfortunate that the compensation we were promised since last month has not been fulfilled, maybe we can start off something from the compensation.”
Anigbo Emmanuel, who also had his two shops demolished, said he had been trading in the market since 2003.
“I was the first person to pay the government’s rent in this line and recently we were told that the World Bank in association with the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA) wants to take over this market place,” Mr. Emmanuel said.
“Some of the officials who came here to take our photos, told us that the Lagos State House of Assembly has already passed the bill to make use of the garage and that the government will compensate us after the demolition.” Mr. Emmanuel said.
“We were told to stay in our various shops outside here, until government wants to start work in the garage. But to my greatest surprise, this morning when I went to Oshodi for a business transaction, I got a call from one of my boys that the Lagos State Task Force are about demolishing the shops and that we have been told to start parking our goods from the shops.”
“This government should always try and carry people along especially when they are embarking on these demolitions they are doing in Lagos State and the people that their shops have been demolished should be duly compensated because we are all Nigerians and this is where we make our living from. But this government don’t care about the people,” Mr. Emmanuel added.
The Lagos government is yet to make any official statement on the demolition.