Thursday, 22 June 2023

Alaba traders: We paid N6m to Lagos on Thursday, government demolished our shops on Sunday

On Sunday, the Lagos government commenced the demolition of several buildings at the multi-billion naira Alaba International Market — a development that left many shop owners in 

When TheCable visited the market on Tuesday morning, many of the affected shop owners were moody.
The Lagos government said the demolished buildings “were distressed”.
Gbolahan Oki, general manager of the Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA), last Friday, said some of the buildings had been marked with quit notice since 2016, adding that occupants usually “harass officials of the agency whenever they want to carry out their duties”.
But Calistus Ezenwa, an affected trader along the Alaba Rago/Ojo Alaba axis, with a noticeably shaky voice, said most of the traders were not aware of the notice.
“It was just a few weeks ago that they gave us notice to park out of our shops. Now, everybody is scattered. Coming out to the market right now is just for fancy. I have no plans yet. It is not fair.”
“I was in the market seven years ago and I did not hear about it (the quit notice).”
On his part, John Nebonta, another affected shop owner, claimed the traders were served a notice on June 1.
Nebonta also noted that he had been doing business in the market since 2016 and “there was no notice of such”.
Nebonta said he was asked to pay N70,000 tax to the state government three days before the demolition
“They (LASBCA) gave us a 7-day ultimatum on June 1, 2023. After one week, the market leadership taxed each shop N70,000. I paid. We went to Alausa to report to the authorities,” Nebonta said.
“They said they would give us state government accounts to pay the fee, and that we should pay in instalments; not knowing they had an ulterior motive. So we contributed N70,000 each and we were able to raise about N6,022,942 on Thursday last week.”
Speaking further, Nebonta said there are rumours that private developers intend to use the land where the shops were demolished for a new trade complex named “New Alaba”.
Credit: The Cable

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