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Computer village relocation: Further delay as LASG insists on developer’s disengagement



The Katangua ICT Market development maybe delayed further, as the Lagos State Government insists that it had terminated its contract with the Project Consultant, Bridgeway Global Project Ltd.

Dr Olajide Babatunde, the Special Adviser to the Lagos State Governor on e-GIS and Urban Development, who had visited the market at the weekend, said that the project consultant’s contract with the state government had been terminated two years ago.

He alleged that even with the termination of its agreement with the consultant over non-performance, the consultant was still occupying and collecting illegal fees from the traders in the market.

NEWSVERGE reports that the Lagos state government has plans to relocate the Computer Village from Ikeja to the ICT Park in Katangowa, Agbado/Oke-Odo local council development area.

The idea was first mooted in April 2017, when the Lagos state government said the Computer Village would be moved before the end of that year.

However, about seven years later, the plan has yet to materialise.

The government aide, Dr Olajide Babatunde said that “We are trying to reorganise all our markets.

I will give you an example. In Ikeja, we have a computer village. The computer village is being relocated,” he said.

“We are relocating them to Katangowa.

It is not just the computer village alone. Other activities will happen in the Katangowa market.”

During his visit to the Katangowa market at the weekend, he said: “It is illegal for the consultant or his representatives to collect any fees or money from anyone under the guise of the development of the market after termination of its contract.

“The Urban Development Department in the Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development headed by Mrs. Bola Bello has taken over the management of the project till further notice,” He said.

Babatunde also directed that anything that had to do with the project control had to be in line with Lagos State Building Control Agency’s guidelines and regulations.

He also spoke on the fate of subscribers who had paid Bridgeway Global Project Limited for the allocation of shops in the market.

Babatunde said: “All of you that have paid any money to the project consultant after his contract was terminated, I can assure that Bridgeway Global Project Ltd. will be made to refund all fees collected illegally to the subscribers after the conduct of proper identification and verification by the state government to determine the real occupants and how much they paid.

“From this moment, nobody should pay any kobo to them again as they no longer represent the state government on this project.

“The Director of Urban Development in the Ministry, Mrs. Bola Bello and her team will be the ones to represent the state government on this market project till further notice and if you have anything to do on this market project, please liaise with her,” he said.

However, the Developer, Bridgeways Global Project Ltd., Mr Jimmy Onyemenam, in an interview with our correspondent on Tuesday, refuted the LASG’s allegation that Bridgeways had committed fraudulent acts.

Onyemenam said that it was not rejecting or denying the termination of its contract of agreement as the developer of the ICT Park, but rather it was requesting that it should be done within the tenets of their agreement.

He said that the LASG had the right to disengage or call off a project with any contractor but it should be done within the tenets of law, especially if money was involved.

According to him, Bridgeways pulled down its payment portal from its website after the LASG disengagement letter was handed over to it, adding that it was also verifiable that it had not collected any money from any trader.

Onyemenam said that the delay in its evacuating the site after the letter was received was because it had also sent a letter to the state government stating that the contract of agreement should be adhered to before the disengagement.

“All this while Bridgeways has had to maintain cleanliness in the market.

“Bridgeways paid for the Lagos State Waste Management Authority to clear refuse for the traders for at least five months with no service charge received from the traders, even though they all signed agreements to pay for the service.

“Bridgeways has continued to secure the premises at its own cost and deal with health and safety, maintenance, repairs, water, power, facility management, and other issues at its own cost as well,’’ Onyemenam said.

Also reacting to the issues, the Ikeja Computer Village Market Board pleaded with the Lagos State Government to carry the stakeholders in the computer village along in decision-making concerning the relocation project.

The Chairman of the board, Chief Adebowale Soyebo, told NAN that its appeal was being made against the backdrop of the state government’s disengagement of Bridgeways Global Projects Lt. as Concessionaire of the proposed ICT Park at Kantagowa.

Soyebo said that the computer village stakeholders welcomed the idea of relocation because it would give room for expansion, but government should carry the stakeholders along on decisions concerning the relocation.

The chairman said that the reason for this kind of communication was for proper representation of the stakeholders

According to him, if you want to create another market somewhere, if you want to move the traders somewhere, you have to carry them along.

“Whatever you are doing without the consent of the people here can be hijacked by the wrong people rather than those who will commit their funds.

“In all of this, we have not been informed about the termination, either by the government or the developer, until then whatever the case, let each party get their facts right.

Soyebo said that to his knowledge, no money had been collected for the temporary stalls currently at Kantagowa, but money was collected three years ago for purchase of forms as commitment to show interest in the ICT park.

Stellamaris Ashinze

NEWSVERGE, published by The Verge Communications is an online community of international news portal and social advocates dedicated to bringing you commentaries, features, news reports from a Nigerian-African perspective. A unique organization, founded in the spirit of Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, comprising of ordinary people with an overriding commitment to seeking the truth and publishing it without fear or favour. The Verge Communications is fully registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as a corporate organization.



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