Bounce Exclusive: You Cannot Relocate Computer Village, Traders Tell Lagos Govt.
‘It is a done deal’.
Those were the words of Wasiu Anifowose, the Lagos state Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, while announcing fresh plans to relocate the Computer Village from Ikeja to Katangowa market in Abule Egba on Tuesday.
This is not the first time such move has been made. The former governor of Lagos, Babatunde Fashola tried moving the market during his tenure but eventually abandoned it.
But now, the government of Akinwunmi Ambode is planning to make Lagos a megacity and has concluded plans to surely move the market this time.
But the traders are having none of it. They believe the plan will fail just as the previous ones.
Some of the traders who spoke to Bounce News gave several reasons why it may not be possible to move the market.
A trader, Tunde told Bounce it was no longer possible to relocate Computer Village because of the level of investment already made into developing the market.
“I am not sure the businessmen here will agree to such a plan. Do you know how much money people have invested in properties here? People have bought lands and built houses. Some others have bought houses which are used as shops today. I don’t know what the government wants or how they plan to do it but there is no way it is going to work,” he said.
Another trader, Obinna said he is not moved by the plan because of the same reason government wants to relocate the market.
According to him, since the government did not build the market, it is impossible to ask the landlords to chase their tenants away.
“Government has been talking about this plan for God knows how long. This place is a residential place. The landlords gave out their buildings as shops. Now, do I not have a right to rent my house to whoever I want? Why will anybody come and chase my tenants away? The planned relocation is not going to work.”
Also speaking, another trader, who simply identified himself as Ayo said government should not relocate the market because of its central location.
“The location of Computer Village is what makes it what it is. If you remove the market from here, you have killed it. For a city like Lagos, Computer Village is not out of place to be in Ikeja. What I think the government should do is to control the roadside businesses, perhaps restrict the business to only the shops. Relocating the market is not a clever idea,” he said.
On his part, a mobile phone accessories trader, Chinedu told Bounce: “Do you know how many states that rely on this market? The whole of Nigeria comes here to buy. In fact, many countries depend on this market. Why would anyone want to relocate a market like that? By the way, government has been talking about this for many years, I think this one will also fail.”
Many other people have also weighed in on the matter since the announcement filtered in on Tuesday.
Founder and CEO of Nigeria’s print shop, Printivo.com, Oluyomi Ojo, reacting to the relocation plan on his Twitter handle, said:
“I know someone who bought a property for 100 million Naira plus in Otigba. Renovated it for business last year. Now they are moving everything to Abule Egba
“What's the government’s business with where clusters show up? It's like moving Alaba. People build clusters to ease their own businesses.
“Otigba sprung out of a residential area. Government should figure out a way to make that place work. The effect of this move on real estate in Otigba will be drastic. I don't know what Lagos is thinking moving Computer Village to Abule Egba.”