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BLACK DAY FOR TRADERS-•Cops and touts destroy wares and property housing shops, offices

Posted by By Chris Anucha on 2005/09/01 | Views: 318 |

BLACK DAY FOR TRADERS-•Cops and touts destroy wares and property housing shops, offices


The world literally crumbled on a Lagos landlord Wednesday, August 24, as he watched the two buildings he laboured for in the past years, reduced to mere rubble, by overzealous mobile policemen and touts who were believed to have come from Alausa secretariat.

The world literally crumbled on a Lagos landlord Wednesday, August 24, as he watched the two buildings he laboured for in the past years, reduced to mere rubble, by overzealous mobile policemen and touts who were believed to have come from Alausa secretariat.

On the fateful day, the stern-looking security men were said to have stormed the property located at KM71/3 1/2 Badagry express road, between 9am and 10am, and ordered tenants to vacate their shops and offices.

Before the tenants could understand what was amiss, the mobile policemen and the touts forced their way into their shops and offices, throwing out office equipment and wares, while demolition exercise commenced immediately in line with "instruction from above."

A source told Daily Sun that as the demolition was going on, the tenants were barred from removing their property for safety.
There was the case of a shop belonging to a trader who travelled out of Lagos. It was gathered that the intruders forced their way into the shop and carted the wares, against pleas by colleagues to safeguard them.

The businessman, who deals in tiles and marble, was said to have left a huge sum of money in a safe in the shop, which the policemen and touts carted away.
"The owner of the first shop was not there when they came. They broke into the shop and we begged them to allow us remove his money and wares but the mobile policemen corked their guns and threatened to shoot if we tried to evacuate his goods and large sum of money," one of the traders said.
There was another case of a beer and soft drinks dealer, who was chased out of the shop while the policemen and touts drank themselves to stupor before they continued with the demolition.

And before they left that Wednesday, all the doors and windows in the two-storey building and a complex containing 28 shops/offices, were removed and the walls broken with sledge hammer.
They allegedly made away with a Land Rover and Mercedes Benz cars and when they asked them where they were taking the vehicles to, the policemen directed them to Regional and Urban Planning Department, Alausa, Ikeja.

The following day, they came to complete the job they started the previous day. Before evening time the two buildings had become heap of rubble.
"This is calamity! I have not seen this type of thing before. If I knew, I would have removed my property before they came," one of the tenants, Dr Adetunji Lams said, adding that he never believed the policemen came from Alausa. "I don’t believe that this government can do this. If it were to be the government, they would bring bulldozers and not sledge hammers. They said the order is from above.

This is military terminology. I don’t think a democratic government can do this to us," Lams said.
Another tenant, Chief Bartholomew Oranagwa, explained that they were taken by surprise, adding that they begged the policemen to allow them to remove their goods before the demolition but they refused.
He wondered why those that came to demolish the buildings could also remove vehicles belonging to the landlord and tenants, adding that there was no prior notice that the house was built illegally.
The landlord of the buildings, Mr. Osho Abibu, who was surprised at the incident, explained that he bought the land in 1990 and got the Certificate of Occupancy(C of O) and approved building plan from the Lagos State government.

Abibu explained that this was published in the government-owned newspaper, Horizon, in its October 23-30, 1990 edition.
He said he was still confused over the demolition of his buildings and accused one rich man of masterminding the demolition in order to acquire the land.

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