Traders and business owners in the Alimosho Local Government Area of Lagos State have cried out for help over the demolition of their shops for the expansion of the Ikotun Roundabout.
The demolition, carried out in 2020, affected over 90 shops in the complex. The state government had promised to compensate the owners of the shops after the road construction, but they are yet to fulfil their promise, according to the aggrieved traders.
Some traders spoke to PUNCH to share their pains about their current situation. Innocent Umeze, who owned two shops among the demolished structures, said that each of the shops was valued at N3 million. He said that the state government, through the Ministries of Transportation and Urban and Physical Planning, issued a notice before the demolition and approached them with the developers who built the shops.
“They told us they wanted to expand the road and assured us that we would be duly compensated after the exercise,” Umeze said. “Our shops were valued at N3 million each before the demolition. After then, nothing has been done till now.”
Another shop owner, Kolawole Ademola, said that the shops were a means of livelihood to some of the owners who now struggle to earn a living after the demolition.
“We were invited to Alausa secretariat before the demolition and the state government promised us heaven and earth,” Ademola said. “They also came to the place to value the shops. After the demolition, we wrote some letters asking them to fulfill their promise but we did not get any response. It was in the process that they requested our allocation papers and account numbers but nothing came out of it.”
The Ikotun/Igando council chairman, Lasisi Akinsanya, said that the council was no longer involved in the process relating to the compensation of the victims. He said that it was the state government that demolished the shops and that the state government is dealing directly with them.
“There is a committee set up which includes some of the shop owners,” Akinsanya said.
When contacted, the Lagos state Commissioner for Information, Gbenga Omotosho, promised to get updates on the development.
“I suspect the Ministry of Transportation carried out the project under the junction improvement programme,” Omotosho said. “I will find out tomorrow.”
The demolition of the shops has left many of the traders in dire straits. They are appealing to the state government to fulfil its promise and compensate them for their losses.