Gripped By Relocation Fear

Another group of traders
Another group of traders

Even though there is no official statement from the Lagos State government, fear of relocation of the Ikeja Computer Village to Abule Egba, an outskirt of Lagos, grips traders and customers

By Vincent Nzemeke  |  Apr. 1, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT

THE planned relocation of the popular Computer Village market in Ikeja by the Lagos State Government is causing anxiety among traders and customers. Although, Lagos State Government is yet to announce an official date for the relocation, feelers suggest that it could happen before the end of the first quarter of 2013.

A government source, who pleaded anonymity, because he was not authorised to speak, told Realnews that the government plans to relocate the traders to Kantangowa market in Abule Egba, a suburb of the city, because its present location was initially designed as a residential area. The source said: “Where you have as computer village today used to be a residential area. All the streets that have now been turned into markets were places where people lived and children played freely. Because of the boom in business, it has now become a commercial area. We have to relocate them in pursuance of our original plan. We want to make the area residential again”.

Some traders displaying their wares in Computer village
Some traders displaying their wares in Computer village

As expected, the government’s decision is generating mixed reactions from traders and customers in the market. While many of the traders are not eager to relocate for certain reasons, some customers appear unperturbed by the planned relocation.  Andrew Ifeanyi, a laptop dealer said the decision of the government to relocate the market will pose a big problem for traders who have invested lots of money into their business. According to him, many business owners in the computer village have paid rents in advance to their landlords and it will be difficult to get the money back when they are eventually relocated by the government.

“I understand that the government is trying to make Lagos a mega city but it should also be considerate with us. Many traders in this market have just renewed their rents and if the government decides to relocate the market now, it will be difficult to get the rents back from the landlord”, he said.

Another trader who identified himself as Sunday, questioned the rationale behind the planned relocation of the market when the traders are regularly taxed by the government. He opined that relocating the market from Ikeja to a remote area like Abule Egba, was a delibrate plan by the government to kill their businesses and send them back to their villages.

“Why do they want us to move when they collect taxes from us regularly?  So all these years we have been paying taxes to the local and state governments, they didn’t know it was a residential area? Why have they suddenly come up with this plan? When you move this kind of business from a popular place like Ikeja to Abule, you have killed it.  By the time we go there now, sales will drop and many of us will be forced to go back to our villages, he posited.

Unlike many of his colleagues,  John Ukachukwu, another business owner in the computer village, lends his support to the plan by the government to relocate the market.  He, however, cautioned the government to make proper plans in order to avoid controversies before relocating the market.

He said: “I don’t have any problem with the relocation of the computer village. I respect the decision of the government because this place was really planned as a residential area. I also know that whereever we are moved to, people will come there to buy. But those in charge must also ensure that they plan well before relocating people in order to avoid problems. If you are asking people to move, you must make proper plans of where you want them to go”.

Contrary to the fears expressed by some traders, many customers who patronise computer village market are willing to go anywhere they are relocated. A student who buys computer softwares from the village expressed his willingness to go to Abule Egba if the market is relocated. He added: “Where ever this market is relocated to, people will always go there to buy. After all, we go to Lagos to buy clothes and Ladipo to buy spare parts, so going to Abule Egba to buy computers should not be a problem”.

Another customer, who wishes anonymity, also hinted that he would be willing to go to the new computer village as long as he can get what he wants.

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