The Lagos State Government, on Monday, demolished the Katangowa Market in the Abule-Egba area of the state to pave the way for the development of the new Computer Village in the area.
Shops, houses and worship centres around the market were also reduced to rubble after the expiration of a seven-day notice to quit.
An automobile spare parts dealer, Mr Jude Ifeacho, told PUNCH Metro that he lost over N30m worth of goods to the demolition, adding that the personnel of the state’s Task Force on Environmental Sanitation and Special Offences did not allow the traders to have access to their shops during the demolition.
He stated that after the demolition, the goods became public property, with scrap dealers and members of the community taking away some of the goods.
Ifeacho added that some of the goods were dug out of the debris and many of them were no longer useful as bulldozers and the falling concrete had damaged them.
He stated, “They started the demolition on January 21, 2020, and then stopped, only to resume the full-scale demolition last week after the seven days’ notice.
“I deal in spare parts. I invested more than N50m in the business, but from my rough estimate is that I lost over N30m to the demolition.
“I don’t know where I am going to start from. Some of the funds I invested in the business were loans from corporate organisations. What do I tell them now? I have not been myself since the demolition.”
Another trader, who deals in clothes and identified himself simply as Nwobodo, told PUNCH Metro that he lost some clothes to the demolition.
According to him, the government did not give the traders enough time to relocate before destroying the market.
He added that though the government had told them that it wanted to use the land since 2000, it allowed people to continue building houses on the land with approved plans, making them to think that it had jettisoned the idea.
The Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Dr Idris Salako, had said the issue of redeveloping the site started in 2002 when the government informed the residents and traders that it had earmarked the area for future development.
He added that several notices had been given to the residents prior to the final notice, noting that the government had to bring down the shops and the affected houses as a last resort.
Salako said the government had rolled out a programme to compensate all qualified property owners in the area.