1,000 traders to be displaced over plan to demolish shopping complex in Lagos 


CITIZENS COMPASS —Over 1,000  traders in Lagos State may be displaced following an alleged plan to demolish the Police Officers Wives Association (POWA) shopping complex in the Computer Village, Ikeja area of the State. 

Some of the traders deal on computer and information technology accessories while some deal on other businesses.. 

Some of those at phases I and II of the complex alleged that the wife of the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Elizabeth Egbetokun, purportedly gave the directive for the demolition of the property. Speaking to journalists on Monday, the chairman of the Computer Dealers Association, Tayo Shittu, said there are 300 shops in the complex with over 1000 traders paying rent for over 20 years. 

The landladies, according to Mr Shittu, include wives and widows of retired and serving police officers who are the original allottees of the properties.

He added that some of the tenants pay between N300,000 and N400,000 yearly and have also been responsible for paying taxes imposed on the property by the Lagos State Government, including the Land Use Charge.

The traders appealed to the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, and the IGP, Kayode Egbetokun, and the state House of Assembly to intervene. More lamentations According to the former chairman of the Computer Dealers Association, Trust Tobechukwu, a developer identified as Achieving Greatness Properties, sent a letter informing them to leave the complex as a demolition would take place. 

We have written to the Inspector General of Police’s wife through our lawyer but we are yet to get any response from her. They should consider the occupants of the shops because this is our source of livelihood,” Mr Tobechukwu said.

One of the traders who spoke with PREMIUM TIMES, Chimaeze Iwuji, said they received a letter from the developer that they had 30 days to move out for the demolition of the buildings.

“We told them to give us a proper letter from the appropriate authorities, they said no. From all indications, it involves a developer and one or two people from POWA to demolish this place,” Mr Iwuji observed.

Reason for proposed demolition In a petition against the developer and the national leader of POWA, dated 7 December and directed to the IGP through the Legal Hub Partnership, the traders claim that the demolition plan was proposed by Achieving Greatness Limited to the National President of POWA and the National Market Leader.

They noted that the proposal was premised on the fact that the POWA Phase I and II are dilapidated, defaced, and distressed and have been recommended for demolition by the Lagos State Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development and Lagos State Building Control Agency.

In her comments, the Iya Oloja of Computer Village, Abisola Azeez, dismissed the reason cited for the proposed demolition as just an excuse to displace the over 1,000 traders in the complex.

Mrs Azeez expressed hope that they could come to terms with the national leaders of POWA and resolve the issues amicably. “My shop has been here since 1999. POWA always gives us issues here and we have our respective landladies.

The traders are responsible for all the maintenance and development of the plaza. They want to dislodge us and bring in new people,” Mrs Azeez said.

“The plaza is a one-storey building and it does not have any structural defect. If they need an increase in payment or if there are issues we need to resolve, they should tell us so we can resolve everything.”

The traders said RFI Integ. Services, a geotechnical engineering company, conducted a non-destructive structural integrity test on the buildings and certified it fit. However, when PREMIUM TIMES contacted the liaison officer for POWA, an official, Omoh Oziegbe, confirmed the development but refused to speak on it.


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