Pains in Ikorodu, as road project devours homes, shops
The road – from Agric Bus Stop to Arepo – a border community between Lagos and Ogun States, on completion, would give residents and commuters great relief. Due to its state of deterioration, a journey of less than 30 minutes often lasted hours and was marked by traffic snarl.
The Guardian found that the Agric-Isawo Road had already begun to take shape. But for landlords and tenants in the area, the excitement that greeted the construction has disappeared. As bulldozers arrived, many houses and structures close to the road were pulled down to make way for the project.
The demolition, which started December last year at the Konu area, reduced churches, shops and residential structures allegedly built on the right of way to rubbles within hours.
The development suddenly turned erstwhile landlords into tenants and squatters. Harmful dusts smothered residents and passersby. Some traders had to begin afresh, setting up impromptu trading posts. Carpenters and bricklayers meanwhile seemed the better, as they secured contracts to rebuild partially affected homes and structures.
While some of the traders praised the government for fixing the road and making Lagos a better place, they nevertheless regretted its failure to provide them with alternative spaces to sell their wares. They also accused the government of caring less about their fate.
One resident claimed the demolition notice that was served left her with no time to move out and get an alternative accommodation. “The government is doing this for our own good, but where will I get the money to fend for my family? Will government provide another job for me? Not only was my shop affected; my residence was equally destroyed. Now, we sleep in the church,” she lamented.
Mr. Njoku John, a trader, said, “Two of my shops at Isawo were demolished, and the one at Agric is on the verge of being demolished also. The two at Isawo were boutiques. I have nowhere to sell my clothes.
Right now, I am worried because they said they would still demolish my foodstuff shop here at Agric. But I am not sure if it will eventually be demolished because it has not been marked. Some of the construction workers said the shop would not be affected.”
Mr. Udaya Patrick, a trader at Agric market, expressed sadness on the demolition. “We were given seven days to quit after the building was marked. This is too short a time for us to find another place to start afresh.
But there is nothing we can do because we can’t fight against the government. After the demolition, people converted their partially destroyed homes to shops. That was how I was able to get a shop to rent again.”
On his part, Dr. Ezekiel Ekuma, Chief Medical Officer, El-Bethel Hospital, said the hospital, like other buildings, was marked. “We are waiting for the government. Once we know the portion that would be affected, we would know the next step to take.”
One landlord, who asked to remain anonymous, noted: “The government has not remained silent on the issue of compensation. They have asked us to bring some documents like survey plan, evidence of payment of land use charge and other documents, to indicate that the plots of land were truly ours, alongside two pictures of the demolished building. After that, valuers will come to see the worth of each demolished building and arrive at an amount due as compensation.”
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