Hundreds of occupants of the popular Agbowo Shopping Complex, Ibadan on Wednesday staged a protest over the prolong closure of their shops by the Oyo State Government.
The complex has remained closed after the government signed a Memorandum of Understanding with a property developer to rehabilitate the Agbowo Shopping Complex.
The angry traders accused men of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps assigned to secure the complex of threatening them with guns and stealing some of their wares.
Brandishing placards ‘We are tax payers, bring investors not civil defence to terrorise us, Gov Ajimobi end this neeless shutdown, save our soul and businesses, we are dying of hunger, among others’.
One of the protesters said:”We are the legal owners of this place but it is unfortunate that the government kick us out without providing an alternative for us. Over 3000 tenants are here and it means that 3000 families does not have a means of livelihood again.”
Another trader, who identified himself as Godspower Onaseme, said government lied about bringing in foreign developers. According to him, for close to two months now nobody has started rehabilitation work at the complex.
We can’t reopen Agbowo Shopping Complex
But responding to the development, the Secretary to the State Government, Ismael Olalekan Ali said the government has no power to reopen the complex as a result of the agreement they signed with the property developer.
He said the state government gave the occupants two to three years to quit. He added that no rent was received from them.
He said: “This complex is due already for rehabilitation and remodelling. We must not breach the agreement we had with the developer and reopen that complex. He said
Ali appealed for the understanding and cooperation of the traders, adding that it was done in their interest.
The MOU to rehabilitate Agbowo Shopping Complex
The State Government in October signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with a consortium of investors, Agbowo Mall Infrastructure Development Company Limited, for the remodeling, redeveloping and rehabilitation of the complex.
the deal was estimated at about N8 billion.
Ali had explained then that occupants of the complex were also part of the negotiations.